Vasant Navratras (Chaitra Navratri, Sri Ram Navratri) is dedicated to Goddess Durga Devi, Maha Lakshmi Devi & Maa Saraswati Devi. In 2016, Vasant Navratri begins on April 8 and ends on April 15. The celebrations of nine nights in Hinduism are considered as very significant and spiritually important.
Vasant Navratras or Ram Navratri is also referred as Chaitra Navratras ( occurs in Chaitra maas) or Spring Navratri (falls in Spring season) or Basant Navratri. Vasant Navratri got the name of Ram Navratri also because it coincides with Sri Rama Navami festival.
When is Vasant Navratri or Ram Navratri Observed?
Vasant Navratras is observed in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March – April). According to Puranas, Goddess Durga Devi was worshipped (Durga Puja) in the Chaitra month and was also called as Basanti Puja. The period of Durga Puja was changed by Lord Sri Ram.
At the beginning of the war with demon Ravana, Lord Sri Ram wanted to be blessed by Goddess Durga. Hence, he worshipped Goddess Durga during the Hindu month of Ashwin or Aswayuja (October – November). Therefore the Durga Puja during the period ( referred as Dura Puja in present days) is referred as Akal Bodhon or untimely invocation.
Vasant Navaratri Celebrations:
Vasanta Navratri is observed with utmost fervor in North India, significantly in Jammu Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and in Utter Pradesh. Temples of Durga Devi are decorated in almost all places in India. During Vasanta Navaratri the same rituals are performed as Durga Navaratri.
Kanya Puja – A Ritual During Vasant Navratri:
Kanya Puja, worshipping little and young girls, is a traditional ritual during Vasant Navratri. It is believed that the little girls represent the Mother Goddess, Durga Mata. Kanya Pooja, aslo known as Kanjak Pooja, usually observed on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the celebrations.
Vasant Navratri in Previous Years
In 2015, Vasant Navratri begins on March 21, ends on March 28, Sri Ramnavami.
In 2014, Vasant Navratri begins on March 31 and ends on April 8.
In 2013, Vasant Navratri begins on April 11, ends on April 20, Sri Ramnavami.
Vasant Navratri 2012 or Chaitra Navaratri 2012 dates – Basant Navratri starts on March 23 and ends on 1 April 2012.