Ram Navami festival ~ festivals of india - local festivals, national festivals, state festivals

Ram Navami festival

Ram Navami

Ram Navami is a festival celebrating the day of the Divine birth of Shree Ramachandra, an avatar of the Supreme Lord. Ram Navami is observed on the ninth day of the bright fortnight in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March - April).

Origin

The demon king Ravan was a great devotee of Lord Shiv. He performed severe penance to become invincible. However, he soon grew very arrogant, and misused his powers against the celestial gods themselves. The celestial gods prayed to the Supreme Lord, who agreed to take birth on the earth, kill Ravan, and protect His devotees.Meanwhile, King Dashrath of the Surya dynasty had three wives, but no children.

He performed the Putreshti Yagna to beget children. God blessed the king and decided to take birth as Dashrath’s son. Soon, the king was blessed with four children – Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna. Ram was the eldest of the brothers. He was brave, wise, handsome, and the favorite of the entire kingdom. Lord Ram fulfilled the condition for Seeta’s svayamvar by breaking the bow of Lord Shiv, and got married to Seeta. The day before His coronation as king, to keep his father’s word, He went into to the forest for fourteen years exile. When Ravan kidnapped Mother Seeta, Lord Ram went to Lanka and killed Ravan and other demons in battle, to fulfill His mission. He then ruled the throne of Ayodhya for many years as a perfect king. Ramnavami celebrates the day of His appearance on the earth.

Ram Navami festival
Ram Navami festival


Celebration

The festival is celebrated on a grand scale at the temples of Shree Ram, where a procession is taken out with deities of Shree Ram, Lakshman and Sita, or people dressed up as them. Devotees singing songs in praise of Lord Ramachandra accompany them.

At homes, people pray to Shree Ram and make offerings of delicacies loved by Him. In south India, the main offerings are buttermilk, panaka (a concoction of jaggery, water, lime and pepper) and kosumalli (soaked lentils with a bit of lime, salt and coconut).

In nothern India, the celebrations start days in advance, with people reading the Ramayan over a period of nine days and celebrating Ram Navami on the tenth day. At some places, the entire epic is enacted in plays, called “Ram Leela,” just as in the Dashera celebrations. In some temples, a small deity of Shree Ram is placed on a swing and rocked with love and devotion.

In some temples in southern India, the marriage of Shree Ram and Seeta is re-enacted on this day.

The celebrations are many and varied, depending on the region. No matter how it is celebrated, Ram Navami is a day of joyous celebration, for it commemorates the birth of a universally loved avatar of the Supreme Lord.

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