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Team Festive wishes you all a very happy Shree Ram Navami.
Shree Ram Navami is one of the major festivals of Hindus. Ram Navami is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Hindu god, Lord Rama. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Rama was the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who had taken birth to slay the powerful demon king Ravana and restore Dharma on earth.
Lord Rama is regarded as the epitome of righteousness. He is also called as Mariyada Purushottam, meaning the most ideal man to have ever lived on the earth. His compassion, wisdom, exploits, virtues, and actions are an inspiration to his devotees to walk on the path of righteousness and lead a virtuous life. The word ‘Rama’ literally means the one who is divinely blissful and offers delight to others. It’s believed that just chanting the name of Lord Rama is equivalent to chanting a divine Mantra. All the adventures of Lord Rama have been beautifully captured in the great epic Ramayana and the verses of Ram Charitmanas.
There is a fascinating story related to the birth of Rama. In ancient India, King Dasharatha of the Ishakvayu dynasty ruled in the capital city of Ayodhaya. He was a very kind, compassionate, brave, and righteous king. He had three queens - Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. There was only one sorrow in the king's life. He didn't have any son, and so the kingdom of Kaushal remained without any heir. He approached Sage Vasishta and asked for his help. Sage Vasishta advised king Dasharatha to perform the powerful Ashvamedha Yagna. Upon the successful completion of the Yagna, the gods gave Dasharatha a pot of Payasam. Sage Rishyaringa, who presided the Ashvamedha Yagna, advised the king to distribute the Payasam among his three queens. As a result, the queens gave birth to four divine sons. The oldest of them was the prince Rama, born to queen Kausalya. Younger to Rama was the prince Bharata, born to queen Kaikeyi, while the youngest twin princes Lakshmana and Shatrughana, were born to queen Sumitra.
As per the Hindu calendar, Ram Navami is a spring festival that falls on the night day of Shukla Paksha (bright lunar fortnight) in the month of Chaitra. According to the western (Gregorian) calendar, Ram Navami is observed either in March or April. It’s on April 2, 2020.
The major celebrations in India take place in Ayodhya, Sitamarhi, Rameswaram, and Bhadrachalam. All these places have major historical significance in the life of Lord Rama. A grand fair is also organized in Ayodhya on the occasion of Ram Navami. People traveling to Ayodhaya take a dip in the holy river of Sarayu before visiting the temples. Ram Navami is also celebrated in several countries around the world. They include Nepal, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, and other Caribbean countries, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji, which is the home to sizeable population following Hinduism.
In northern India, Ram Navami is celebrated with great enthusiasm and spirit among the devotees. Many devotees clean, wash and bathe miniature statues of Lord Ram and put it in a cradle to celebrate his birth. During this festival, the temples dedicated to Lord Ram are decorated beautifully. The idols of Lord Rama, Mother Sita, Lakshmana, and Lord Hanuman are cleaned and worshipped. At many places, the complete narration of epic Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas is organized for nine days. People sing rhymes in praise of Lord Rama and dance to share their happiness. Some of the devotees even fast for complete nine days or on the day of Ram Navami and perform holy rituals every day to purify the body, soul, and mind. The devotees also cook delicacies and distribute it to their friends, relatives, and neighbors. Devotees also take out Shobha Yatras or Rath Yatras, the grand chariot processions, carrying the idols of Lord Rama and Mother Sita along with Lakshmana and Lord Hanuman, in the streets. The devotees sing and dance throughout this journey.
In the southern parts of the country, Ram Navami is known as Sitarama Kalyanam or Kalyanotsavam. It is celebrated as the marriage anniversary of Lord Rama and Mother Sita.