The beginning of the Hindu New Year, which occurs in spring, is marked by Chaitra Navratri. The three forms of Goddess Shakti—Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Durga—are revered by her followers. The celebration or adoration of each manifestation of Goddess Shakti is observed on each of the nine nights. During Chaitra Navratri, Goddess Shakti is worshipped in nine different forms. On March 22, 2023, Chaitra Navratri, also called Vasant Navratri, starts. This nine-night Hindu celebration honors the goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Durga. This nine-day period is devoted to Mother Goddess Shakti and includes rituals like mantra chanting, pujas, fasting, and other practices.
The Navratri celebration is particularly important. Throughout the nine-day celebration, adoration is offered to Goddess Durga and her nine avatars; each day is devoted to a different manifestation of the Goddess. Most followers choose a light sattvik diet and abstain from alcohol and non-vegetarian meals. Some people follow a strict nine-day fast that involves only vrat-approved meals. There are specific foods that are consumed and some foods that people refrain from throughout these nine days.
Full Chaitra Navratri 2023 Schedule
Day 1 (March 22, 2023): Ghatasthapana/Pratipada Tithi
Worshipped Goddess: Mata Shailputri
Color to wear: Grey
Offerings: Kuttu ki Poori
Day 2 (March 23, 2023) : Dwitiya Tithi
Worshipped Goddess: Mata Brahmacharini
Color to wear: The hue orange
Offerings: Motichoor Laddoo
Day 3 (March 24, 2023): Tritya Tithi
Worshipped Goddess: Mata Chandraghata
Color to wear: White
Offerings: Makhane ki kheer
Day 4 (March 25, 2023): Chaturthi Tithi
Worshipped Goddess: Mata Kushmanda
Color to wear: Red
Offerings: Beetroot or Carrot juice
Day 5 (March 26, 2023): Panchami Tithi
Worshipped Goddess: Mata Skandamata
Color to wear: Blue
Day 6 (March 27, 2023): Shasthi Tithi
Worshipped Goddess: Mata Katyani
Color to wear: Pink
Offerings: Rose Kulfi
Day 7 (March 28, 2023): Saptami Tithi
Worshipped Goddess: Mata Kaalratri
Color to wear: Royal Blue
Offerings: Coconut burfi
Day 8 (March 29, 2023): Ashthami Tithi
Worshipped Goddess: Mata Mahagauri
Color to wear: Yellow
Offerings: Kesar ki kheer
Day 9 (March 30, 2023): Navami Tithi
Worshipped Goddess: Mata Siddhidatri
Color to wear: Green
Offerings: Bottle gourd
Food to eat during Chaitra Navratri
- Cereals and grains: Pseudo-grains can be eaten when fasting, just like flour. Thus, vrat-special samak (barnyard millet) rice is used in place of conventional rice. Moreover, buckwheat and Amarnath are frequently used to prepare dishes for Navratri, such as khichdi, tikki, and laddoo.
- Salt & Spices: During the Navratri fast, one can eat sendha namak, or rock salt, as well as spices like cumin, clove, and cinnamon, among others. Spices are crucial for regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, regulate appetite, and prevent mood swings.
- Flours: Normal refined flours should be avoided during the Navratri fast. Instead, vrat-friendly poori, roti, tikki, and cheela are made using flours like buckwheat (kuttu) and water chestnut (singhara).
- Fruits: Fruits of every kind are acceptable during Navratri. Fruits can be eaten whole, juiced, blended with milk to form shakes, or added to desserts or smoothie bowls with hanging curd.
- Vegetables: Sattvik veggies, which don’t cause heat in the body, are favored during the Navratri fast. Some of the common veggies eaten include potatoes, pumpkin, tomato, bottle gourd, carrots, lemons, yam, arbi, and spinach.
- Milk and Milk-Related products: You can drink milk straight up or make it into a variety of shakes and smoothies. Use natural sugar substitutes like jaggery, honey, dates, or stevia if you have diabetes. In order to avoid stomach issues during fasting and to maintain a high level of energy, one can strive to include curd, yogurt, chaach (buttermilk), or raitas in their meals. A few drops of ghee are necessary during your fast since it helps to keep you satisfied. Paneer must be a part of one’s protein intake for fullness and to prevent hunger sensations.
- Nuts and dry fruits: Nuts and dry fruits are an essential component of your Navratri diet because they are a rich source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. During fasting, add a handful of walnuts, almonds, dates, pistachios, and raisins for a nutritional boost to your body.
Food to avoid during Chaitra Navratri
- All types of pulses and legumes, including dals, are forbidden during the Navratri fast.
- Alcohol and any non-vegetarian foods must not be consumed by devotees who are keeping the Navratri fast.
- Regular flour, including wheat, refined flour, rice flour, corn flour, and sooji, is not allowed to be consumed.
- Table salt, onions, and garlic are completely forbidden during the Navaratri fast and also cause heat, thus they must not be used in the meals served to those who are following the fast.
- It is recommended to stay away from hot spices like heeng, methi dana, dhaniya, and garam masala.