History, Celebrations and Significance of Ram Navami Festival
Ram Navami is a religious and traditional festival, celebrated every year with great enthusiasm by the people of Hindu religion. It is celebrated to remember the birthday of the Lord Rama, son of the King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya, of the Ayodhya kingdom. Lord Rama was the 7th avatar from the Dashavatar of the Lord Vishnu, a Hindu God. According to the Hindu calendar, this festival falls every year in the Shukla Paksha at 9th day in the month of Chaitra. Ram Navami is also called as the Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami which ends as nine-day long Chaitra-Navratri celebrations.
Hindu people celebrate it as a 9 days festival by organizing the Akhand Paath of the Ramacharitamanas, religious bhajan, havan, ritual kirtan and distribution of Prasad after the puja and Aarti at 9th day. Devotees make the statue of the Lord Rama in infant form and make prayer in front of the God. As Lord Rama was the 7th avatar of the Vishnu born among common people to remove their problems, people decorate temples and other religious places to make the traditional prayers and offerings of fruits flowers in order to get their problems removed and lot of prosperity and success. They get together at this day to chant Vedic mantras, Aarti and lots of religious songs.
Most of the devotees celebrate this festival by making fast for whole nine days or first and last day of the Navratri to get the full blessings. Nepalese celebrate this festival as a wedding anniversary of the Lord Rama from Mata Sita. All the temples get decorated throughout the south region to celebrate the Navratri. However, people in the Mithila and Ayodhya celebrate the wedding anniversary at Vivaha Panchami according to the Valmiki Ramayana. A grand celebration of the Ram Navami takes place by the thousands of devotees. The Rathayatras means the chariot procession (Shobha yatra) of the Lord Rama, Mata Sita, Lakshmana and God Hanuman is carried out by the thousands of people after taking a holy dip in the sacred river, Sarayu or Ganga.
RAM NAVAMI HISTORY
Ramayana is the great and religious Epic of the Hindu religion, tells the history of King Dasharatha and his son Rama of the Ayodhya. Once, there was an emperor in the Treta Yuga called King Dasharatha who had three wives (Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi). He had no children and was very sorry for a future emperor of the Ayodhya. One day he was suggested by the great Rishi named Vasistha to perform the Puthra Kamesti Yagna to fulfill his desire for a child.
He was suggested to specially invite the Maharshi Rishyasringa in order to perform yagna. After performing the yagna, he was given a bowl of the divine Kheer by the Yagneshwara. He was requested to offer that bowl of Kheer to his all three wives. Some days after eating that Kheer, all his wives get conceived. At the day of Navami (at 9th day) in the Chaitra month at noon Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikeyi to Bharata and Sumitra to twin boys named Lakshmana and Shatrughana.
Kausalya’s son Rama was the 7th avatar of the Lord Vishnu who took birth to come to the Earth to finish Adharma and maintain the Dharma. Lord Rama had protected his devotees from the attack of rascals. He had vanquished Adharma from the earth and maintained the Dharma all over the earth by destroying all the Asura including Ravana. People of the Ayodhya were very happy from his new King Rama and started celebrating his birthday every year with big joy and enthusiasm as Ram Navami which is still traditionally and religiously celebrated all over the Nepal by the people of Hindu religion.
RAM NAVAMI CELEBRATIONS
People of the Hindu religion located in the South region of the India generally perform the marriage celebration of the Lord Rama. They celebrate it at the day of Navami having the statue of Hindu deities called Rama and Sita in their houses. They perform a procession on the streets taking statues of the deities at the end of day to celebrate the Ram Navami.
People celebrate this festival by decorating the statues of the Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Mata Sita and Lord Hanuman. They prepare the sweets, sweet drinks, Prasad to perform the puja, they invite Pandit to perform havan and Katha, they read religious songs, mantras and Aarti at the end of puja to remove the bad powers from their houses and welcome the good power and energies to their house. As well as, They also pray for the good future and health of their children and other family members.
They make fast for whole nine days or last day of the Navratri to perform the holy annual puja. People read the holy Hindu religious Epic called Ramayana; worship Rama and Sita to get the peace and happiness in their life. They offer Morning Prayer to the Hindu God, Surya Dev after having a holy bath in the early morning. People offer puja to the Lakshmana, Mata Sita and God Hanuman with the Lord Rama as all of them were devoted heartily to each other.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RAM NAVAMI FESTIVAL
Ram Navami festival is the festival of great importance for the people of Hindu religion. Celebrating the festival of Ram Navami on the 9th day of Chaitra month indicates the removal of bad powers and entrance of divine power on the earth. To remove the Asura power on the earth in order to maintain the Dharma, Lord Vishnu had to born on the earth as a son of the Ayodhya King Dasharatha. Ram Navami is a ritual celebration for the people of Hindu religion which they celebrate enthusiastically for their soul and body purification. Lord Rama came to the earth to perform a special responsibility means to destroy the demon Ravana in order to maintain the Dharma.
So, This festival celebration indicates the victory of goodness and defeat of evil power and establishment of the Dharma after removal of Adharma. Ram Navami festival celebration starts with the Jal offering in the early morning to the Hindu God, Sun to get blessings from the supreme power as people beliefs the God Sun as an ancestor of the Lord Rama. People involve in singing the devotional songs for whole day as well as listening the recitations from the various Hindu religious books. Vedic mantras are chanted by the religious people of the community at this occasion.
Keeping fast at this day has another significance of getting body and mind purified. At some place, people perform a religious and cultural event called Ramlila to reveal the history of Ram Navami in front of people. People play the whole history of the life of Lord Rama through their dramatic performances. Chariot processing is a grand and ritual event of the Ram Navami festival to show the peaceful Ram Rajya in which people decorate the statues of the Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman in a well manner to start processing on the streets.
Generally, people like to have a holy bath in the Saryu River of the Ayodhya in the belief of the complete purification of the body and soul. Furthermore, Nepalese people celebrate this occasion as a wedding anniversary of the Rama and Sita which symbolizes enhancing the love bondage between husband and wife.