Today is the first day of Navaratri, a first day of festivals, dance and fast for next 10 days.
The word "Navaratri", a conjunction of two words "nava" (meaning "nine") and "ratri" (meaning "night"), literally means "nine nights". Sharad Navratri is the foremost of the Navratri festivals. Celebrated during the Hindu Sharad season (September-October), it celebrates the slaying of demon Mahishasura by Goddess Durga. Sharad Navratri is observed for nine days and nine nights, with three days each for the worship of three different aspects of Mother Shakti - as Goddess Durga for the first three days, as Goddess Lakshmi for the next three days and as Goddess Saraswati for the final three days. Nine forms of Mother Shakti(the female form of power) - Durga, Bhadrakali, Jagadamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika - are worshipped during the Navratri. The forms worshipped differ from region to region. This nine days festival is essentially celebrated to worship Goddess and to commemorate the victory of good over evil, i.e bringing to an end the atrocities of Asuras (Evil) like Mahishasuran, Shumban, Nishumban, Madhukaidapan, Thumralochanan and Rakthabheejan. Dussehra – the festival that falls on the tenth day after Navratri (nine nights) is celebrated to rejoice the victory of God Rama over the ten-headed demon – Ravana.