Navratri (meaning ‘nine nights’) is a Hindu festival celebrated every autumn. It is usually held at the end of September or the beginning of October, at harvest time. Navratri lasts for nine days and celebrates good triumphing over evil. During the festival, three goddesses are worshipped: Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The first three nights are dedicated to Durga (the mother goddess representing power), the next three nights to the goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and purity) and the final three days are dedicated to Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and the arts).
The festivities begin with the Ghatasthapana or Kalash Sthapana (a sacred pot). Devotees keep a fast during the nine days, spend the day reading the Devi Mahatmyaham and other holy mantras dedicated to the Mother Goddess. Later during the evening, after the aarti, people take part in Dandiya and Garbha, a traditional folk dance. This festival marks the victory of the Devi over a buffalo-demon named Mahishasur, who had caused massive destruction. Hence, she is called Mahishasuramardini, meaning the one who eliminated Mahishasur. She is believed to have the combined powers of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer). She is the consort of Lord Shiva and the mother of Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya.
People, especially women, who celebrate Navratri follow the particular colour of the day. This tradition is very popular among states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Keeping fast and wearing clothes according to Navratri colour of the day is considered very sacred in Hindu religion. Women follow this tradition widely and adorn themselves with similar coloured clothes and accessories during Navratri.