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Home > Religious Festivals > Hindu Festivals > Rama Navami
Rama Navami
Rama NavamiIt is the birth anniversary of Lord Ramachandra, commonly known as Rama. Rama, seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born to King Dashratha of Ayodhya.

Rama Navami falls on the ninth lunar day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra (March or April). It is observed with great sanctity and fasting. It is a nine-day festival, coinciding with Vasant Navratri.

Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. Ramayana (the Sanskrit epic of 24,000 stanzas.) is read out in temples, during Satsangs (public gatherings). This is one of the five Mahavratas (important fasts) observed since ancient times. Traditional worship begins with chanting Vedic mantras dedicated to Vishnu, and offering flowers and fruits to the god. Excerpts from the "Ramacharitamanas", praising Lord Ram, are recited. People of all castes and creeds participate in these gatherings to listen to the stories and their explanations offered by the learned. Lord Ram`s devotees fast for nine days with fruit and milk, whilst some fast on the ninth day only.

Devotees stay awake on the ninth night, in anticipation of Lord Ram`s birth. A havan is performed. Devotional songs are sung in praise of Lord Ram. They rock his image in cradles to celebrate his birth. A special puja is performed, the next morning.

In homes, family members bathe early in the morning. The youngest female member of the household leads the puja (prayers) by applying a red tilak (mark) to all the other members of the family before everyone joins together in worship. Offerings of fruit and flowers are placed on the family shrine and prayers are recited.

Birth Cradle of Lord RamaAn image or picture of baby Rama is placed in a covered cradle. At noon, the covering is removed and Naivedya (special sacred food) is offered to Rama. This is then, shared amongst the members. People fast during these days. Some people do not eat certain foods, particularly things like onions, garlic, some spices and wheat products.

Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. In northern India especially, an event that draws popular participation is the Ramnavami procession. The main attraction in this procession is a gaily decorated chariot in which four persons are dressed up as Rama, his brother Laxman, his queen Sita and his disciple Hanuman. The chariot is accompanied by several other persons dressed up in ancient costumes and they pose as Rama’s army. The procession is a gusty affair with the participants shouting praises echoing the happy days of Rama`s reign. Rama`s dynasty is considered to have been descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama`s birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.

Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc. All these names begin with the prefix Raghu. This is also suggestive of some link with Sun-worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord`s birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. In some Hindu sects, prayers on Ramnavami day start not with an invocation to Rama but to Surya (sun).

Rama Navami - AyodhyaRamanavami celebrations are popular in Uttar Pradesh. In all Vaishnav temples, as the sun rises a coconut is placed in the cradle and at midday the priest announces the birth of Rama. This festival celebrates the birth of Lord Ram or Ramachandra and is an occasion for great rejoicing especially for the Vaishnavas. The holy books and ancient texts believe that anyone who does not fast on this day will go to the hell. It is also said, that Rama fulfills the wishes of all those who pray to him on this day.

Thousands of pilgrims converge in the temples of Ayodhya and Pondicherry, to participate in Ramnavami festivities. These two places are closely connected with the events of the Ramayana (the epic describing the story of Rama).

Especially during Ramanavami, people keep on chanting Rama’s name. There are stage shows depicting tales from Ramayana. Such a stage show is popularly known as Ramlila. In Uttar Pradesh, effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarana (Ravana’s brother), Meghnad (Ravana’s son) are burned.

In Andhra Pradesh, Srirama Kalyanamahotsavam, the marriage of Rama and Sita idols, is performed.
More...
• Diwali• Dussehra• Mahashivratri
• Janmashtami• Holi• Pongal
• Hanuman Jayanti• Vat-Savitri• Gond Festival
• Nagpanchami• Rakhi Purnima• Rama Navami
• Vasant Panchami• Ganesh Chaturthi
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