Ram Navami is a Hindu festival celebrated with fun and religious fervor by Hindus across different parts of India. The festival commemorates the birth of Lord Rama, one of the most worshipped Hindu Gods. He is regarded as the epitome of humankind, the ideal son, husband and father. Every year, Ram Navami falls on the ninth day of the Chaitra month of Hindu lunar year in ‘Shukla paksha’ or waxing moon, which corresponds to March-April as per the Gregorian calendar. The celebrations of the festival are marked by stringent fasting by the devotees of Lord Rama. The festival marks the end of the nine-day festivities of Chaitra Navratri. Know more about the celebrations of Rama Navami, in the article.
History of Ramnavami
Ram Navami is one of the most ancient festivals celebrated in India. It is said that the date of Ram Navami can be traced back to the pre-christian era, as Hinduism is the oldest religion of the world. The reference of Ramnavami can also be found in the Kalika puran. It is said in the earlier times, when caste system was prevalent in India; Ramnavami was one of the few festivals that the lower castes (shudras) were allowed to celebrate. In Hindu religion, it is considered to one of the five major sacred festivals and it is said that, properly observing this fast leads to the attainment of salvation.
Ramanavami Festival Celebrations
The celebrations of Rama Navami start with the worship of Sun God. On the day, people wake up early in the morning, take bath and pay honors to Sun God. Thereafter, they would chant mantras of Lord Rama and offers fruits and flowers to the deity. The devotees of Lord Rama would observe a whole-day fast on the festival, which they would break only in the midnight, by eating a fruit. In many parts of India, satsangs are organized by cultural committees to commemorate the birth of Lord Rama. The congregation of the devotees would sing bhajans, chant mantras in the praise of the God and listen to the legendary stories.
As a part of the celebrations, people would keep their home clean and decorate it beautifully. In the households where pujas are conducted, the pictures of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman are hung. The devotees would offer flowers, burn dhoop and incense sticks. A thali used for the performance of the pooja would typically contain prasad and other items necessary for the ritual, including roli (sacred tilak), rice, lota (container filled with water), flowers, a bell, earthen lamp or deep and a conch. Everyone in a family takes part in the puja, which is conducted by the elderly member of the family. While worshipping the deity, songs are sung. When the puja is over, prasad is distributed among all the people gathered for the worship of Lord Rama.
In many parts of India, typically South India, small idols of Lord Rama and Sita are worshipped in the households, which are take to a procession on the streets, in the evening. In many temples, Kalyanam’ (a ceremonial wedding) is performed by the temple priests. Panakam, a sweet drink prepared by mixing jaggery with ginger and pepper, is a specialty of Ram Navami in southern parts of India. The dish is prepared as a prasad. It is first offered to the deity, and then distributed amongst the devotees. When the idols of the deity are taken to a procession, the devotees often play with water and colors, to mark the birth of the God.
Organising Cultural Programmes
People also enjoy fireworks on Ram Navami and fete and many other cultural organisations are designed at many places. In some places community lunch is also prearranged. There are millions of devotees of Lord Ram and it is because people consider him as Maryada Purushottam, which means ideal in every aspect and field of life and relationships.
The best and the most remarkable thing about Ram Navami is that it is considered as festival when it is celebrated collectively and is a holy festival when it is celebrated individually. People try to develop the qualities of Ram and everyone wants to become like him. The deeds of Ram are enacted and preached in many places. Children get motivated and influenced by the activities of Lord Ram and some of them try to develop some of the qualities in them.
Sacred places that are related to Lord Ram and his life like Ayodhya, Ujjain and Rameshwaram are places of attraction that day. People travel long distances to go there to worship Lord Ram. People visit Rameshwaram and take bath in the sea and some auspicious and propitious Kunds before they visit the temple. It is believed that when taking bath from the waters of the Kund, people get cleaned from within and then when they worship the Lord, they find themselves closer and blessed.
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