Maha Nawami - Ninth Day of Dashain Festival
Maha Nawami marks the day on which the ninth incarnation of Goddess got victory over the demon 'Mahishasura' which symbolises the victory of good over evil.
Maha Nawami falls on the Nawami tithi of the month of Ashoj as per Bikrama calendar. It's celebrated as a part of the 15 days long Dashain festival which falls on either September or October. This day also marks the final day of Kalaratra. Nawami also marks a day before the famous Tika celebration in Nepal.
On Maha Nawami, people worship goddess Durga Bhawani, and Chamunda along with Shiddharatri, Maha Lakshmi, Bhimsen. Likewise, certain communities also worship and perform ceremonial sacrifice to their family deities and divinities in a ritual termed as Kul puja. On the occasion of Maha Nawami, people offer the newly sprouted “jamara” to the goddesses at various temples.
On this day, people recite the Durga Saptasati and Devi Stotra also known as the Chandi book, which has 100 names of Durga. As per the legend, Goddess Chamunda also known as Mahakali, defeated the demon Raktabij who had the power to be reborn right after his blood was spilt on the ground and drank the demon blood to forbid him from re-birth.
National Level celebration of Maha Nawami
On the day of Maha Nawami, the doors of the biggest Taleju Temples at Hanumandhoka are opened for general people. There are altogether Three Taleju Temples in Kathmandu valley in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. But the biggest Taleju Temple at Hanuman Dhoka remains closed throughout the year except for the day of Maha Nawami.
Likewise, lord Vishwakarma, the deity of building and craftsmanship, is also worshipped On Maha Nawami. Armouries and weapons in Nepal Army Headquarters and the Nepal Police Headquarters are worshipped on Maha Nawami. People also worship tools, weapons, and vehicles on this day.
- How do Newari people celebrate Nawami?
Newari people term Maha Nawami as syakwa tyakwa. On this day, Newari people from Kathmandu valley worship Shakuyaku (newari name for goddess Shiddharatri) and deity Bhimsen who is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva on the day of Maha Nawami.
Different Newar communities also perform plancha bali where they sacrifice goats, Sheep, chickens, ducks, and buffaloes on Maha Nawami as an offering to devi Durga. Many newari communities also perform Kul puja on this day. Newar people from Bhaktapur on this day, release a buffalo commonly termed as khoume and the locals chase the buffalo from the NavaDurga temple to the Brahmani temple.
Throughout the march, people chased the buffalo and they also poured water and wine into it. When it arrives, it is tied up again and waived the next morning before daylight.
Common beliefs behind Maha Nawami (worship of Siddhidatri)
As per Devi Stotra mother Siddhidatri is the Goddess Durga's ninth incarnation. She is depicted as a goddess with the lotus on one of her hands and is seen riding a lion as her chariot.
Siddharatri’s worship gives any individual the power to fight all the negativity and assures one’s win over the situation. According to Devi Purana, even lord Shiva reached his full potential as a result of the goddess's boundless kindness.
There is a belief that worshipping Siddharatri leads to salvation in both this world and the next. Likewise, another holy book Markandeya Purana states that if mother Siddhidhatri is pleased, she will her devotees with power, and wisdom.