Navratri Vrat (Fasting)

Observing Vrat or fasting for our beloved deities not only cleanses the physical system but also purifies our mind and soul. Navratri festival is dedicated to Goddess Shakti, in which devotees observe strict fasting throughout the day and break the fast after evening Pooja.

The fast starts from the first day and carries on till seventh or eighth day and is broken on ninth day or Navami. Navratri Vrat is a highly sacred ritual followed by the Hindus, which blesses the devotees with a long and prosperous marriage life. Consuming grains is completely avoided, and fruits, milk, potato and root vegetables should be eaten.

Navratri Vrat (Fasting)

When one cannot observe complete fasting, people keep partial fast, which involves consuming light food items after evening Pooja. Eating non-vegetarian is strictly prohibited, and usage of strong spices, garlic, onion, common salt is avoided. Apart from this, milk and milk products & dry fruits/nut can be consumed. Navratri fasting builds one’s temperament, self-control, and peace of mind.

Both men and women observe complete or partial fasting. Also, the flexibility on the number of days of fasting also depends on the devotee. Some fast for all the nine days, while few fast only on the first and last days.

Navratri Fasting Rituals

Devotees begin the day with an early bath and dress up in clean clothes. Then, a ritualistic Pooja is offered to Mother Durga by lighting lamp, the offering of “Prasad” and Mantra chanting. As per the fasting rules, food items prepared on the day are devoid of garlic and onion, as they are believed to induce negative vibrations. Mostly people intake one meal per day, after the completion of evening Pooja. In the evening special Navratri fasting recipes are cooked and offered to Devi. Once the Pooja is over, Prasad is distributed to everyone, and one breaks the fast by consuming it.

During the night, people gather in groups and sing hymns in praise of Mother Shakti. Apart from staying awake at night, people also follow “niyamas” which includes sleeping on the floor, refraining from shaving or cutting nails and participating in recreational activities.

Few of the popular food recipes made during Navratri include Kuttu Ki Puri, Khuskhus Aloo, Singhade Ka Halwa, Sabudana Vada and Sabudana Khichdi.

Devotees observe fasting for seven to eight days and break their fast on the eighth day (Ashtami) or ninth day (Navami) by performing “Kanya Pooja.” This involves offering food and gifts to nine young girls, depicting the nine forms of the divine Mother.