In India, the people celebrate the Navratri Festival as a way of celebrating the victory of good over evil. The devotees during this time observe fasting for seven days. On the eighth day or also known as Ashtami, fasting is broken by worshipping young girls. This worship is called Kanchika Pujan. However, some people fast until Ashtami and stop only on the ninth day which is the Navami. Let’s take a look at how the Navratri fasting is observed during the nine-nights of Navaratra.
During the feast, the devotees get up early in the morning, take a bath and offer prayers to the deity. They can either undergo a waterless fasting (Nirahar) or follow a specific diet designed especially for Navratri celebration.
Suggested foods and drinks for the Navratri Festival
Most people perform partial fasting during this feast. They eat vegetarian foods and inhibit their selves from taking in of dishes that are made of common salt and other spices. Instead, sendha namak are used in cooking. Rotis or puris are also prepared from singhare ka atta or kuttu ka atta for this special celebration.
Aside from these foods, dishes made of sago and potatoes are generally consumed by the devotees. In addition to this, they can also prepare their meal from the fruits available. During the seven days, all fruits are being eaten by the people.
For the beverages, one may drink tea, coffee and milk. As much as possible, alcoholic beverages should be avoided all throughout the festival. The devotees are expected to strictly follow these musts during Navratri to show their strong beliefs to their traditions.
Nowadays, readymade snacks are also available at the stores during this occasion. Even restaurants at the northern part of India have a special menu they offer to the people who observe fasting during Navaratri.
After the seven-day fasting
As it has been stated earlier, some people end their fasting on the eighth day of the celebration. They usually do this by performing another ritual which is the Kanchika Pujan. In this ritual, young girls are worshipped through offering Prasad. Puris (deep fried Indian bread), halwa (sweet dish made of suji) and sabzi (Bengal gram curry) make up the Prasad. The devotees would consume the Prasad as a signal to the end of the fasting.
Although many people follow this tradition, some still extend the celebration until the eighth day (Ashtami) and end the fasting on Navami or the ninth day. Whatever case it may be, the same procedure of the fasting tradition is still followed.