Navratri and Dussehra Facts for Kids
- Video: Fun Facts about Navratri and Dussehra For Kids
- What is Navratri?
- Why and When is Navratri Celebrated?
- Why It’s Important for Children to Learn About Navratri
- 10 Amazing Facts About Navratri that Kids Should Know
- How Do People Celebrate Navratri Across India?
- What is Dussehra?
- Why and When is Dussehra Celebrated?
- 10 Surprising Dussehra Facts for Kids
- How Do People Celebrate Dussehra Across India?
Normally, the second half of the year in India is full of celebration and festivals, with so many being celebrated within weeks of one another. It is a great time for families because, in many parts, they come together from all over the country in unison to celebrate the festive season.
Almost all the following festivals – Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali – celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and it is a great time to teach kids about India’s history. If you have a kid in the family, now is a great time to teach them about these festivals, and impart some Navratri information for kids to appreciate the importance of the festival better.
Video: Fun Facts about Navratri and Dussehra For Kids
What is Navratri?
Navratri is a festival celebrated by Hindus. It is also known by other names in different parts of the country, including Chandra Darshan, Sindoor Tritiya, Chandi Path, Kumari Puja, Sandhi Puja, Mahagauri Puja, and Ayudha Puja, among other names. There are certain rituals which are observed in different parts of the country during this time. Each region or state has their own ways of celebration and the duration also differs from place to place.
Why and When is Navratri Celebrated?
A festival that is celebrated by those who follow Hinduism, Navratri is celebrated for different reasons in different parts of the country. It is also known as Durga Puja, whereby devotees pay respects to Goddess Durga and her nine avatars. ‘Nav’ means nine and ‘ratri’ means night; hence, the name. There is also the aspect of the nine colours of Navratri, each colour assigned to a specific day, depicting each incarnation of the Goddess.
In the North, the celebration is in honour of Lord Ram and his triumph over Lankan King Raavan, who kidnapped Ram’s wife; in the North East, they pray to Goddess Durga and her triumph over evil in the form of the demon Mahishasura.
This year, Navratri began on 15th October and will end on 23th October. In theory, Navratri actually falls from 2 to 4 times in a year, although the most celebrated one is Sharada Navratri which is celebrated after the monsoon season. The exact dates for the festival change slightly every year and depend upon the Hindu luni-solar calendar.
Why It’s Important for Children to Learn About Navratri
“Navratri is a special festival that lasts for nine nights and ten days. It’s celebrated by many people in India with dances, songs, and prayers. It’s important for kids to learn about Navratri because it helps them know more about our culture and traditions. By understanding the stories and reasons behind the festival, children can feel more connected to it and appreciate its beauty and meaning.”
10 Amazing Facts About Navratri that Kids Should Know
Unveiling Navratri facts for kids! Discover the wonders and stories behind one of India’s most vibrant festivals.
- “Navratri” comes from two Sanskrit words. “Nav” means 9, and “Ratri” means night. So, Navratri is a festival that lasts for 9 nights.
- During Navratri, people worship Goddess Durga and her 9 forms. Each form has a unique power, and together they make up Goddess Durga. These forms are Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri, and Siddhidatri.
- Navratri is celebrated five times a year, but the one in September/October, known as Sharad Navratri, is the most famous.
- A big reason people celebrate Navratri is to remember Goddess Durga’s win over the demon Mahishasura. They fought for 9 days and nights, and on the 10th day, Goddess Durga won.
- To remember Goddess Durga’s win over the buffalo-headed Mahishasura, some places in India have an animal sacrifice.
- On the ninth day, called Ayudha Puja, many people worship things they use in their work, like computers, books, vehicles, and machinery.
- Navratri dates change every year. They’re based on the Hindu lunar calendar, starting on the first day of the Ashwin month, usually in September or October. Right after Navratri ends, the Dussehra festival begins.
- In parts of North and West India, during Navratri, people enjoy Ram Lila, which tells the story of Lord Rama. It ends with the Dussehra festival where big statues of Ravana are burnt, showing Lord Ram’s win over Ravana.
- A lovely story says the Gods let Goddess Durga visit her mother for nine days every year. Navratri is believed to celebrate their happy reunion.
- During Navratri, many people fast, eating special foods. This fasting is not just for religious reasons but is also considered good for health, as it detoxifies the body.
How Do People Celebrate Navratri Across India?
Here’s how people celebrate the festival in different parts of the country:
1. In East India
In Eastern India, Navratri is known as Durga Puja. Here, for days together, states like West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar etc. overflow with people. They venerate Durga Ma and celebrate her triumphant slaying of the evil demon Mahishasura. There are massive pandals, or stages, that are constructed across the state. For eight days, idols are decorated before they are immersed in the sea, to signify Her return to Kailasa.
2. In North India
In the North, Navratri is observed in the month of April in some places where people fast for nine days. It shouldn’t be implied that they do not eat at all during these nine days; they just abstain from wheat and rice. This practice is said to improve the digestive system.
The festival is again live in October, and celebrates Lord Ram and his triumph over the Lankan King Raavan, who kidnapped his wife, Sita.
The Navratri story for kids is best explained to them through the Ram Leela. For nine nights, people stay up and chant prayers praising Lord Ram and enjoy plays that celebrate his story. On the tenth day, a massive effigy of Raavan is burnt with much pomp and show, with crackers.
3. In West India
In Western India and parts of Gujarat, the festival is celebrated with dandiya or garba. It is a traditional dance between women and men, and it is called the “sword dance” because it represents a mock battle between Goddess Durga and the demon.
4. In South India
In Southern India, the festival is known as Ayudha Puja where people celebrate and pay respect to their instruments. Here, vehicles, books, and musical instruments are kept in front of the deity and smeared with holy ash or sandalwood paste. In several parts of different states in the South, people also have a unique exhibition of decorated dolls within their homes that last for all nine days.
What is Dussehra?
Dussehra is a festival celebrated largely across the North, in honour of Lord Ram’s triumphant victory against Raavan. It’s the final day of the Navratri festival and ends with many effigies of the ten-headed Raavan being burnt down to the ground.
Why and When is Dussehra Celebrated?
Dussehra is generally celebrated around mid-October (almost towards the end of the month) and marks the tenth day of Navaratri. It is celebrated to commemorate Lord Ram’s victory over Raavan after he kidnapped his wife, Sita. The two armies fought fiercely for days before Lord Ram victoriously slew Raavan and saved his wife from the clutches of evil. It’s a great piece of Dussehra information for kids to learn and remember.
In some parts of Himachal Pradesh, the festival culminates on the tenth day of the rising moon, i.e. Vijayadashami. The history of this festival dates back to the 17th Century when the local King, Jagat Singh installed an idol of Raghunath in his kingdom, Kullu. This deity was declared as the ruling Lord of the entire valley.
10 Surprising Dussehra Facts for Kids
Introducing Dussehra facts for kids! Dive into these simple and engaging stories to understand the many shades of this grand festival.
- Ravana is also loved in some places. In parts of India like Mandsaur and among the Gond Tribals, he is respected and worshipped. In Sri Lanka, he’s seen as a great king who contributed a lot to science and medicine.
- Dussehra isn’t just about Lord Rama defeating Ravana. In Kolkata, it’s about Goddess Durga defeating a demon called Mahishasura. In Mysuru, it’s about Goddess Chamundeshwari’s victory. Telangana praises Goddess Gauri and in Tamil Nadu, they honor Goddess Kali.
- The Pandavas, from a story called the Mahabharata, hid their weapons in a tree when they were in hiding. Later, they worshipped this tree and their weapons. This tradition is still followed today as Ayudha puja.
- A story tells of a student named Kautsa who gave gold coins to the people of a city called Ayodhya on Vijayadashami. He got these coins from a generous king, and this was after he wanted to give something to his teacher.
- Buddhists also have a special connection to Dussehra. They believe a king named Ashoka, who was sad because of a war, decided to follow Buddhism on this day.
- In Kerala, young children start their learning journey on Dussehra. They are taught to write on rice grains. This special event is called Ezhuthiniruthu.
- Dussehra comes when one season changes to another. Some traditions during this festival are believed to clean the environment, helping everyone stay healthy.
- Different parts of India celebrate Dussehra for different stories and reasons. Whether it’s about a goddess, a kind king, or starting to learn, Dussehra is special for many people.
- Dussehra is a time for families. They come together, share stories, and celebrate.
- For many, Dussehra is about new beginnings. Some start learning, some change their ways, and some begin new tasks. It’s seen as a good day to start something new.
How Do People Celebrate Dussehra Across India?
Here are a few Dussehra facts for kids that you could teach them by showing them how the festival is celebrated in different parts of the country:
1. In East India
As mentioned before, Dussehra is celebrated as Durga Puja in the East. The number of days and certain traditions differ from state to state. Women apply sindoor on their foreheads and on the forehead of the Goddess they pray to. The festival or the puja is conducted on the days of Sashti, Saptami, Ashtami and Navami with the puja culminating on the final day of Dusshera.
2. In North India
Apart from burning of effigies, in the northern states, especially in the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh, there is an internationally renowned Dusshera celebration called Kullu Dusshera. Here, the festivities start on the tenth day and continue for another seven days. This commemorates the day on which the idol of Lord Raghunath was installed on the throne by the local king Jagat Singh.
3. In West India
In Gujarat, Garba is a folk dance that is played during all the nine days of the festival. People dance to folk tunes after offering their prayers to the deity of Durga.
4. In South India
In Mysore, the festival sees a lot of prominence in the wonderfully lit Mysore Palace. The city also burns down effigies of Kumbhkaran, Raavan and Meghnath. Here too, idols of Goddess Durga are carried atop elephants from the palace to the Mantapa, or pavilion, as devotees pay their respects during the journey.
Thus, Navratri and Dussehra are celebrated wholeheartedly across the country. While they have different forms, the ultimate celebration is that of good over evil and the triumph of balance in the world.