While all nine days of the Chaitra Navaratri festival are important, Maha Saptami holds special significance for devotees, who perform elaborate rituals and offer special prayers to Goddess Durga on this day. On Saptami, the fierce Kalaratri form of Goddess Durga is worshipped along with Goddess Saraswati.
Goddess Kalaratri is considered to be the most ferocious avatar of the nine forms of Durga and is known for destroying ignorance and removing darkness from the universe. This year, Maha Saptami falls on April 8. On this day, people also perform Utsava puja and Navagraha puja.
It is believed that the ferocious battle between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura began on Maha Saptami, and the demon was killed on Dussehra.
Separately, Hindu scriptures cite another incident that led to the worship of Goddess Kalaratri. There were two demon-brothers, named Shumbha and Nishumbha, who represented self-doubt and doubt on others. They were unleashing immense atrocities on people. Lord Shiva then asked Goddess Parvati to kill the demons. Parvati took the form of Goddess Kalaratri and killed them.
Goddess Kalaratri is depicted as a destructive form of Durga. It is said she drank the blood of demon Rakta Beeja, who fought her alongside Shumbha and Nishumbha. Rakta Beeja had a boon that he could create demons like himself from every drop of blood that fell on the ground.
On this day, people worship the nine planets, represented by banana, pomegranate, turmeric, ashoke, bel, arum plant, colocasia, and paddy. These are tied together and taken to the river at pre-dawn for bathing. Then the puja is done at home.
In some parts of India, especially in the south, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on the seventh day of Navaratri. Devotees keep books and musical instruments before her and pray for insight and knowledge.
The day’s colour is green.