Navratri literally means ‘nine nights’ – a festival of nine nights. Navratri is the festival of the feminine power, Shakti, the fountainhead of all creation and energy on the earth. This Shakti is worshipped in the form of goddess Durga, who in turn is referred by different regional names, like Sherawali, Vaishno devi or simply Mataji.
Durga derives her name from the Sanskrit word durg, meaning a fort. Devi Durga stands like a fort in front of her believers and shields them from all sufferings on the earth, and needless to say is the universal mother.
This day also is the beginning of the traditional dance form in
Gujarat called Garba, which derives from the word ‘garbha’ or the womb. A pot is worshiped for the nine days by all women and all dance around the same. The jar is a common symbol for a womb and a recurrent theme in both mythology as well as folklore. The pot is a very prominent symbol of fertility and the same is used in many forms during the entire life cycle of human beings. But, we will discuss symbolism of a pot or jar on some other day.
The nine days also signify the battle between Ram and Ravana, with the victory of all that is good over evil and the tenth day is thus known as Vijaya Dashami, with the death of Ravana.