Millions of Hindus consider Navaratri one of the year’s central festival, the one they most deeply connect to. These nine days dedicated to Shakti, the Goddess, in her incarnations as Durga, Lakshmi and Saravati, provide an opportunity to seek blessings and commune with their own divinity. It is a time for sacred gatherings, austerities, selfless acts and intimate prayers. It also includes joyous worship, festivities, plays, feasting and dance—all venerating God as the loving Mother Spirit that gives life to everything.
What do Hindus do for Navaratri?
Navaratri starts on the new moon of September/October. On the first day, it is customary to plant seeds in a clay pot which will sprout over the next nine days. In some communities, women prepare a specially decorated kalasha, a vessel symbolizing the fertile womb, representing the Goddess.
Especially in cities in Tamil Nadu, families create elaborate shelf displays, called kolu, of handmade clay dolls. Adding new dolls each year and handing the collection down to the next generation results in some grand displays.
Navaratri Observances and Celebrations
- Read more about Navarati as well as cook a wonderful chickpea sundal here (a downloaded 1 page pdf that can be used as a media release.)
- Celebrating Navaratri in Bengal
- Celebrating Navaratri at Home
- Navaratri around India
What foods are offered?
Sundal plays an important role in Navaratri with a different sundal being made each day. Sundal is a salad made with cooked lentils or beans often tempered with mustard seeds, urad dal and red chillies. Traditionally it was made as prasadam, an offering to the Gods, but these days it is available at any time of the day in the home or on the street.
Sundal is normally made with chickpeas (garbanzo beans), mung dal, channa dal, peas, rajma (kidney beans), green gram dal, or peanuts (groundnuts). For festival dishes, the Sundal generally won’t contain onions.
Food Guide and Recipes for Navratri
- Ven Pongal
- Kara Kondakadalai Sundal: Spicy Black Chickpea Sundal
- A list of foods for Navarati, including fasting foods
- Sabudana (Sago/Tapioca) Khichdi | Navratri Vrat | Dussehra Fasting Recipes
- Jeera Aloo | Navratri Vrat | Dussehra Fasting Recipes
- Channa Dal Sundal (Kadala Paruppu Sundal)
- Mixed Dal Sweet Sundal
- Mixed Dal Spicy Sundal
- Kadalai Paruppu Sundal ~ Kadalebele Usli ~ Channa dal Salad for Navratri
- Sihi Kosambari | Kadalai Paruppu | Sakkarai Sundal
- Kasambari – Cucumber and Green Gram (Mung) Dal Salad
- Nilakkadalai Kaara Sundal – Spicy Peanut Salad
- Sihi Kosambari – Soaked Bengal Gram Dal With Sugar And Coconut Gratings
Cooking for All Seasons has put together food for each day of the festival:
- Navaratri Special Day 1 ~ Brown Karamani Sundal
- Navaratri Special Day 2 ~ Konda Kadalai Sundal, Puliyodarai
- Navaratri Special Day 3 ~ Mochai Sundal, Sakkari Pongal
- Navaratri Special Day 4 ~ Pattani Sundal, Kadambam Rice
- Navratri Special Day 5 ~ Kadambam Sundal, Thayir Sadam
- Navaratri Special Day 6 ~ Verkadalai Sundal, Elumichai Sadam
- Navaratri Special Day 7 ~ Sunnundalu, Thengai Sadam
- Navaratri Special Day 8 ~ Channa Dal Sundal, Pal Sadam (Kheer)
- Navaratri Special Day 9 ~ Moong Dal Sundal, Kalkandu Sadam