Monday, September 25
Navratri prashad (sooji halwa &Pulihora)
Navratri is one of the holy festivals of hinduism. It is a festival of nine nights(sep 23-oct 1), during which we worship goddess of shakti.When the supreme being begins to manifest its cosmic energy, it is variously known as Sakti, Devi or Divine Mother, who assumes many forms according to the tasks to be preformed by her. She is also known as Durga, Lakshmi or Sarawati in her destructive, protective, and knowledge giving roles respectively. These three aspects of the Divine Mother are worshipped during Devi Navaratri puja, the nine nights.
Navratri festival is observed twice a year, once in the month of Chaitra and then in Aswayuja. It lasts for nine days in honour of the nine manifestations of Durga. During Navaratri (the word literally means "nine nights") devotees of Durga observe a fast. Brahmins are fed and prayers are offered for the protection of health and property.
Durga or the destructive aspect of the divine mother is worshipped during the first three nights. On the succeeding three knights, her protective aspect of Lakshmi and on the last three nights, her knowledge aspect or Saraswati are worshipped. The significance of this order is that first durga destroys all the evil propensities lurking in the minds of her devotees; then lakshmi implants divine qualities in the devotees' minds and finally saraswati bestows true knowledge to her devotees. The tenth day known as Vijaya Dasami, commemorates the victory of knowledge over ignorance of goodness over evil.
source : surfindia
It is a long tradition that one reads the devi-bhagavatam or the devi mahatmyam (durga saptasati, 700 verses on Durga) during this period. If you refer to the agni purana, then it is said that the Puratashi and Panguni (in Tamil months) i.e. Ashvin and Chaitra are like the two jaws of Lord Yama. If one wants to escape the mouth of Yama, then one should celebrate Navaratri on these two occassions. A similar analogy is presented in the devi bhagavatam. Devi bhagavatam also talks in detail on how one should observe fasts, and how one should meditate/work on these days.
According to a legend, Durga sat on the tip of a needle for nine days, doing a severe penance to destroy the evil Asura Mahisha. On the first three days, she meditated as Herself, the next three days as Mahalakshmi and the last three days as Sarasvati. This signifies progression from tamsik, to rajasik to satvik and eventually obtaining liberation.
The tenth day in october is called vijayadasami to signify the victory on the day of dashami. Viijayadashami is auspicious for starting any new venture, starting alphabets for children, learning new languages, music, or for developing new (improved) relationship with your husband or wife or children or office colleagues.