Chaitra Navratri 2020: The festival of Chaitra Navaratri marks the beginning of Hindu calendar month of Chaitra which is also being marked as Gudi Padwa, the new year celebration of the Marathi community. Chaitra Navaratri is observed for the worship of nine forms of Goddess Durga. During this Navratri, the devotees of Maa try to please the nine forms of Maa Durga by worshiping them for the whole nine days. And one of the celebrations within these nine days is Kanya Pujan.
Kanya Pujan or Kanjak Puja, this ceremony involves the worship of nine girls, who represent the nine forms of Goddess Durga or Navadurga.
Kanya Pujan: Date
Kanya Pujan happened on the day of Ashtami or the eighth day of the Navratri celebration. This year, Kanya Pujan 2020 will be held on April 1st and April 2nd.
The nine forms of Goddess Durga, also known as Shakti are, Maa Shailputri, Maa Brahmacharini, Maa Chandrakanta, Maa Kushmanda, Maa Skandmata, Maa Katyayani, Maa Kaalratri, Maa Mahagauri, and Maa Siddhidatri.
On the day of Kanya Puja, devotees worship nine young girls between the ages of 3 and 10, who are considered as the image of Maa Durga.
Kanya Puja: Vidhi
A separate Kanya Puja thali is made which has red vermilion, chunari (red cloth) and prasad. Welcome the little girls home and wash their feet. A red chunni is offered to them and special food items are also prepared on the day. The prasad may be sweet halwa and puri. People seek blessings by touching their feet. The Kanya Puja ends with gifts or money for girls.
Significance of Kanya Puja
Hinduism considers that the creative forces in the universe are of the female gender. All energy is represented by various goddesses. Devi Durga Maa is also considered a source of inspiration for Mahamaya, who created the gods and the universe.
As such, Kanya Puja is seen as part of the Devi worship to recognise female power. Devi symbolizes the worship of female. Kanya (girl), who has not reached puberty, is considered auspicious, clear-minded, and soul-filled person to cite Adishakti. A girl is considered a form of Devi, and as she grows, she will play a different role in life (the form of the goddess Maa).
Although Kanya Puja is part of the Chaitra Navaratri celebration, we hope readers will not follow it this year due to the corona virus outbreak. We ask readers to keep social distance and not let their children go home to celebrate.