With Chaitra Navratri going on, Indians are all set to celebrate Ram Navami on its ninth day. Ram Navami is a widely celebrated festival subscribing to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. Ram Navami is celebrated across the globe by Hindus. Ram Navami holds a lot of significance in Indian culture.
If you are looking to find more about this auspicious festival and have questions like Why is Ram Navami celebrated? What is its significance? When is it celebrated? What is the Ram Navami 2023 date and time? And so on...We will attempt to answer most of these and get you a little closer to your culture and traditions!
Ram Navami History
Knowing about the Ram Navami history will answer the question of why Ram Navami is celebrated with so much enthusiasm. Ram Navami marks the day our beloved Lord Ram was born. To celebrate the descent of this divine being on Earth and the subsequent change in the history of India, people partake in various rituals across the country and the world.
Lord Ram as per our scriptures is believed to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He was born as the eldest of four sons to King Dashrath and Queen Kaushalya in Ayodhya in Treta Yug. He is known to be “Maryada Purshottam” and represents justice and righteousness. He was a man of his words and promises. The story of his fight with Ravana, which signifies the triumph of good over evil has inspired generations and will continue to do so.
Lord Ram was one of the first to try to do away with untouchability by consuming half eaten berries of Shabari, an elderly lower caste woman. This is why it is said, Ram Navami was that one festival, which was celebrated by upper and lower castes alike.
Over the years, as the social evils began to die, Lord Ram’s open mindedness transcended time and generations, making Ram Navami one of the most important festivals of Hindus.
Significance of Ram Navami
Ram Navami in its very true meaning is the symbol of victory of goodness over evil, rather “Dharma” over “Adharma”. Ram Navami also signifies the importance of the sun. “Ra” in various languages is a syllable used to denote sun. Lord Rama’s dynasty is called “Suryavanshi”, which translates to descendants of the sun.
This is why Ram Navami is a festival that is also devoted to thanking the sun for it is the driving force of life across the world. This is why many people start the morning of this festival by offering water to the sun and expressing gratitude to it.
Ram Navami Celebration
As already mentioned above, these auspicious days begin with devotees offering water to the sun. Many devotees observe a fast on this day. Devotees also pray to Lord Ram by reciting hymns from religious scriptures and books like Ramayan. After worshipping at home many families head to temples to worship Lord Ram Idol.
Many devotees conduct havan, which is a fire ritual, performed by a priest, who recites various mantras and hymns to worship Lord Ram. This havan is also scientifically proven to purify the air by killing harmful microorganisms. After the havan, a pooja or aarti is conducted. Followed by this aarti, devotees partake in singing and dancing religious hymns and partake in activities called Bhajan and Keertan.
The priest offers to Lord Ram bhog or prasad, which is offered in the form of fruits and sweets, which is then distributed among the devotees. The devotees who are fasting, then continue the fast and break it at midnight.
There are also some other exciting activities that take place on this day, like that of the chariot parade. In many parts of the country, devotees conduct a parade, in which any four people (mainly children) dress up as Lord Ram, Goddess Sita, Laxman, and Hanuman. They go on a designated path leading up to a temple, dancing, singing, and celebrating this beautiful festival.
Similarly, in some parts of the country “Ram Leela”, the portrayal of Lord Ram’s life through a play takes place, which is watched by a devoted audience.
In the south, this day coincides with the day of Ram and Seeta’s wedding and is called “Seetaramakalyanam''. So they worship both Ram and Seeta at home and participate in a parade at night. Temples also try to recreate the wedding for devotees and decorate the Lord Ram idol and his wife Seeta’s with beautiful jewellery and garlands.
Ram Navami Fast
The fast observed on this day, called Ram Navami Vrat, is one out of the five major fasts of Hindus. It is compulsory for the descendants and followers of Lord Ram. The fast starts the previous midnight, or with the onset of this day.
There are many kinds of fasts that devotees can observe depending upon their abilities and health- they can fast for the entire 24 hours, they can eat once a day, or they can fast the entire nine days of Chaitra Navratri (sometimes only consuming Satvik food).
Whichever fast is observed or not observed, the food consumed during Ram Navami should be Satvik, which means, it should not include ingredients like onion, garlic, etc. Also, instead of the normal salt, rock salt should be used.
Some devotees also observe the waterless fast and prohibit themselves from drinking water the entire day along with not eating food. There are various levels of fasts in terms of their severity, but one should follow what suits their health, as in the end what matters is intention and devotion!
It is said that whosoever will observe this vrat, will be blessed with good health, wealth, and overall prosperity. This fast can lead to the attainment of happiness and eventually salvation.
Ram Navami Vrat Katha
There are many stories and legends that are recited during the Ram Navami Pooja, but the most popular one that surely finds its place in every household is the story of Lord Ram’s birth. As per Hindu religious text in Ramayan, King Dashrath ruled Ayodhya and had three wives namely- Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra.
Dashrath was a phenomenal ruler and he led his state to prosperity, but he was facing a great ordeal in his personal life. Despite having three wonderful partners, Dashrath was childless, which meant that there was no one to take on the reigns of his kingdom after him.
To redeem himself of this problem he went to Rishi Vashisth, who advised him to perform a fire ritual called Putra Kameshti Yagya. This fire sacrifice was performed by Rishi Rishyasringa. This sacrifice resulted in the appearance of Agni Dev who offered a bowl of divine Kheer to king Dashrath and asked him to divide it among his three wives.
Dashrath gave half the Kheer to Kaushalya, another half to Kaikeyi, both of them gave half of their Kheer to Sumitra. After this entire yagna, on the ninth day of Chaitra, Ram was born to Kaushalya, Bharat to Kaikeyi and Laxman, and Shatrughan to Sumitra. Ever since this occasion is celebrated as Ram Navami.
Ram Navami 2023 Date and Time
Lord Ram is believed to have adorned Earth with his holy presence on the ninth day of Shukla Paksha, in the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu calendar. This occasion comes every year in the Gregorian months of March or April.
Every year somewhere in the time of spring during March or April the Chaitra Navratri falls with Ram Navami falling on the ninth day. This year April is being blessed with the divinity of this festival.
Ram Navami in 2023 will commence on 12:43 AM., 10 April and will last till a little past midnight, precisely 03:15 AM., 11 April.
Ram Navami is a festival that not just signifies the importance of righteousness, truthfulness and justice, but also gives people an opportunity to come together with their loved ones and take some time out from their busy lives to enjoy together. Hopefully, this article brought you closer to your roots and inspired you to celebrate this year with utmost joy and glee...!