How to Celebrate Sri Rama Navami
Lord Rama is believed to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and Hindu Vaishnavas celebrate his birthday in the form of Sri Rama Navami. According to Indian mythology, Rama was born on the 9th day of Shukla Paksha of the Chaitra month of Hindu calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, this festival falls during the March or April month of every year. Hindus celebrate this festival for 9 days, during which they perform a number of bhajans, kirtans, yagnas, social gatherings and rath yatras. Most north Indian Hindus abscond from onions, garlic, eggs and non-vegetarian food, while other devotees keep a fast for these nine days. Read this oneHOWTO article the know how to celebrate Sri Rama Navami.
Cleaning and decorating the house
One important part of celebrating Sri Rama Navami is to clean the house and decorate it with colors and flowers. Entrance doors are adorned with mango leaves and marigold flowers. Some devotees decorate their house with rangoli, lights, garlands, and other decorative material. In simple words, they try to make their house as clean and beautiful as possible to make the gods happy. Making special food and wearing new and clean clothes is also important to do on this day.
There are several ways of fasting during the Navratris before Sri Rama Navami. Navratris start before nine days of Sri Rama Navami. Some people fast for all these nine days, during which they eat only satvik food, that too only once in a day, usually at dinner. At other times, they eat only fruits, as there are some food you can make for Navratri. Some people fast only for the first and last day of the Navratris, but do not eat any onion, garlic, eggs or non-veg food during all these nine days. Some people fast only on the day of Sri Rama Navami, and complete their fast after having satvik dinner at night.
Take a look at the importance of fasting during Navratris if you want to know more.
Singing and dancing
Many devotees perform bhajans and kirtans on Sri Rama Navami, in which people do a lot of singing and dancing to please the God. Groups of people gather at homes, temples or community centers, and perform these bhajans and kirtans to celebrate the birthday of Lord Rama. People wear new clothes on this day and participate in these cultural programs to make themselves noticed in these performances.
Chariot processions are also an important part of Sri Rama Navami celebrations. During these processions, a decorated idol of Lord Rama is placed in a chariot and circulated on the streets to bless all. People feel blessed when they get a chance to touch this sacred chariot, as if the God has himself come to their street to bless them.
Visiting a temple
Visiting a temple is an important part of Sri Rama Navami. Even a Hindu who never visits a temple will visit a temple on this day and please the God. People clean their house early in the day, take a bath, wear new and clean clothes, and visit a temple with kids, family and neighbors. Ladies wash their hair on this day to make themselves as pure and clean as possible. The best time to visit the temple is immediately after taking a bath, so that you do not touch or do anything dirty after taking the bath. When a devotee visits a temple, he or she prays in front of Lord Rama’s image, and offers flowers, sweets and cash to it. The priest then applies red sindoor on the devotee’s forehead, and gives him Prasad to bless him or her.
Taking holy baths
Many people travel several miles to go to a sacred place and take a holy bath in an auspicious kund. Some of such popular places are situated in Ayodhya, Rameshwaram and Ujjain. It is a belief that when you take bath from the holy water of these kunds, you get cleaned up from the inside, and all your sins and impurities are washed away. When people take a dip in these holy waters, they are believed to come closer to the God and blessed.
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