Navaratri basically represents a celebration of the Goddess Durga, with nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights Navratri is “Nine Nights festival”.
The commencement of spring and autumn are considered to be an important junction of atmospheric and solar influences, and this is the reason why these two periods are taken as sacred prospects for the worship of the Divine Durga Maa. The dates of the festival are determined according to the astrophysical calendar. Goddess Durga has nine Avatars and all these nine avatars are worshiped in this nine days festival, called Navratri.
Navratri is a very important and major festival in the western states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, during this festival the traditional dance of Gujarat called “Garba” is performed with full zeal and enjoyment. The festival has a great value in North India as well, including Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and the northern state of Punjab.
The legend behind Navratri is written in detail in Markandeya Purana. Durga Saptashathi is a part of the Purana, concerning the beginning and birth of Shakti and her victories over the slain demons.
The myth of Navratri states that Mahishasura, the mighty demon, worshipped Lord Shiva and obtained the power of perpetuity (time without end). Soon, he started to kill and harass the innocent people and set out to win all the three lokas (swarga loka, pataal loka and bhu loka). Gods of swargaloka prayed to Lord Shiva and appeal to protect them from this demon. Thus, the three almighty Trinity Gods – Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma united their power and create a female warrior known as Goddess Durga for the killing of demon Mahishasura.
The gods in swargaloka appealed to Lord Shiva, to find a way to get rid of the demon. To protect the world from the atrocities of Mahishasura, the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva united their powers and created a divine female warrior, known as Goddess Durga. Mahishasura, when he saw the divine beauty of Goddess Durga, got mesmerized. Devil having interested looking at the attractiveness of goddess approaches her to get married to him. Goddess confirms to get married to demon but places a situation before demon saying that if he beats her in the fight, she would get married to him.
Mahishasura allows her offer and the war starts between Goddess Durga and Devil Mahishasura and carries on for 9 evening time. And at the end of the 9th evening, Goddess Durga destroys Mahishasura. Therefore, these 9 evening time are known as as Navratri. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or “Dussehra.” symbolizing the victory of righteousness over evil.