“The Navratri commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during the beginning of October, although as the dates of the festival are determined according to the Hindu lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less.
Navratri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses.
First three days
The goddess is invoked as a spiritual force called Durga in order to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects.
Second three days
The Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees inexhaustible wealth.
Final three days
The final set of three days is spent in worshipping as the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship.
During Navratri, some devotees of Durga observe a fast and prayers are offered for the protection of health and property. A period of introspection and purification, Navratri is traditionally an auspicious time for starting new ventures.
During this vowed religious observance, a pot is installed (ghatasthapana) in a sanctified place at home. A lamp is kept lit in the pot for nine days. The pot symbolizes the universe. The uninterrupted lit lamp is the medium through which we worship the effulgent Adishakti, i.e. Sree Durgadevi. During Navratri, the principle of Sree Durgadevi is more active in the atmosphere.
On the tenth day of Navratri in October – the holiday of Dussehra, an effigy of Ravana is burnt to celebrate the victory of good (Rama) over evil.
Navratri is celebrated in a large number of Indian and Nepalese communities. The mother goddess is said to appear in 9 forms, and each one is worshipped for a day. These nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess who vanquished demons are cited.”