Rama Navami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birthday of Rama, the seventh avatar of the deity Vishnu. It falls on the ninth day of the bright half of Chaitra, the first month in the Hindu calendar. By the Gregorian calendar, this is usually in March or April – this year the festival occurs on 30 March.
In the Hindu faith, one God, Brahman, is recognised, however Hindus recognise three principal gods who represent different expressions of Brahman. The second principal god, Vishnu, is the preserver and protector of the universe. Rama is an avatar of Vishnu, meaning Rama is a descendant of Vishnu and embodies a deity in another form on earth. The festival is significant as it indicates the victory of good over evil.
This festival is celebrates with puja (devotional worship), fasting and reading passages about Rama’s life. Some who celebrate this festival will observe it in a temple, whilst others observe it within their homes. Ratha yatras (chariot processions) of Rama and his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman are taken out from many temples. Many also offer flowers and fruit to Vishnu, with different celebrations occurring in different regions. For example, in the south of India the festival is celebrated for nine days!