Rama Navami
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Rama Navami

Ram Navami
BabyRamOrchha.jpg
Baby Rama (Ram Lalla)
TypeHindu
SignificanceBirthday of Lord Rama
CelebrationsLast day of Chaitra Navratri
ObservancesPuja, Vrata (fast), Ramayana Katha recitation, Havan, D?na (charity), Music Festival
DateNinth day of Chaitra (Chaitra Shukla Paksha Navami)
2020 date2 April (Thu)[1]
2021 date21 April (Wednesday)[2]
FrequencyAnnual

Rama Navami (Hindi: ?) is a Hindu spring festival that celebrates the birthday of Rama, the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu. Rama is particularly important in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism.[3][4] The festival celebrates the descent of Vishnu as the Rama avatar, through his birth to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya.[5] The festival is a part of the spring (Vasanta) Navratri, and falls on the ninth day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of Chaitra, the first month in the Hindu calendar. This typically occurs in the Gregorian months of March or April every year.[6] Rama Navami is an optional government holiday in India.[7]

The day is marked by Rama Katha recitals or reading of Rama stories, including the Hindu sacred epic Ramayana. Some Vaishnavite Hindus visit a temple while others pray within their homes, and some participate in a bhajan or kirtan with music as a part of puja and aarti.[8] Some devotees mark the event by taking miniature statues of the infant Ram, washing and clothing them, then placing them in cradles. Charitable events and community meals are also organized. The festival is an occasion for moral reflection for many Hindus.[3][9] Some mark this day by vrata (fasting).[3][10]

The important celebrations on this day take place at Ayodhya and Sita Samahit Sthal (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi (Bihar),[11] Janakpurdham (Nepal), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Kodandarama Temple, Vontimitta (Andhra Pradesh), Ramanathaswamy temple, Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu), Vaduvur Sri Kothandaramaswamy Temple (Tamilnadu), Sri Rama Pada Temple, Dhanushkodi, Rameshwaram (Tamilnadu), Eri Katha Ramar temple, Maduranthakam(Tamil Nadu), Eri-Katha Ramar Temple, Thirunindravur (Tamilnadu), Sri Kodanda-Ramar Temple,Thirupullani (Tamilnadu), Sri Kodandaramar Temple, T-Nagar, Chennai (Tamilnadu), Sri Parathasarathy Temple (Sri Ramar Sannidhi), Thiruvallikeni, Chennai, Jharkhand (hazaribag, chatra, Ranchi, lamta shiv Mandir), (Tamil Nadu). Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, Sita, his brother Lakshmana and Hanuman, are taken out at several places.[3][12][13] In Ayodhya, many take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu and then visit the Rama temple.[5]

Celebrations

Baby Rama in a cradle at Chinawal village temple, Maharashtra

The day is the ninth and last day of Chaitra (Vasanta) Navaratri (not to be confused with the better-known autumn Navratri).[6] It celebrates the birth of Vishnu's 7th avatar, Rama. It is marked by the faithful with puja (devotional worship) such as bhajan and kirtan, by fasting and reading passages about Rama's life. Special cities in the Ramayana legends about Rama's life observe major celebrations.[6] These include Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh), Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu), Bhadrachalam (Telangana) and Sitamarhi (Bihar). Some locations organize Rath-yatras (chariot processions), while some celebrate it as the wedding anniversary festival (Kalyanotsavam) of Rama and Sita.[5]

While the festival is named after Rama, the festival typically includes reverence for Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, given their importance in Rama's life story.[14] Some Vaishnavite Hindus observe the festival in Hindu temples, while others observe it within their homes.[15] Surya, the Hindu sun god, is a part of the worship and ceremonies in some communities.[15] Some Vaishnavite communities observe all nine days of Chaitra (Vasanta) Navaratri by remembering Rama and reading the Ramayana, with some temples organizing special discussion sessions in the evening.[15] Charitable events to help those in need and community meals are organized by temples and Vaishnavite organizations, and for many Hindus, it is an occasion for moral reflection.[3]

Kabir Sahib told the true definition of Aadi Ram in His Bani[16]

"Ek Ram Dashrath ka beta, Ek Ram ghat ghat me baitha. Ek Ram ka sakal pasara, Ek Ram sabhu se nyara" ||

In Karnataka, Sri Ramanavami is celebrated by the local Mandalis (organizations) at some places, even on footpaths, by dispersing free panaka (jaggery and crushed musk melon juice) and some food. Additionally, in Bengaluru, Karnataka, the Sree Ramaseva Mandali, R.C.T (R.) Chamrajpet, organizes India's most prestigious, month-long classical music festival. The uniqueness of this 80 year old musical extravaganza is that celebrated Indian classical musicians, irrespective of their religion, from both genres - Carnatic (South Indian) and Hindustani (North Indian) - descend down to offer their musical rendition to Lord Sri Rama and the assembled audience.[17]

Bhadrachalam temple in Telangana is one of the major Rama Navami celebration sites.[5]

In eastern Indian states such as Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, the Jagannath temples and regional Vaishnava community observe Rama Navami, and treat it as the day when preparations begin for their annual Jagannath Ratha Yatra in summer.[18][19]

Devotees associated with ISKCON fast through the daylight hours.[15] A number of ISKCON temples introduced a more prominent celebration of the occasion of the holiday with the view of addressing needs of growing native Hindu congregation. It is however always was a notable calendar event on the traditional Gaurabda calendar with a specific additional requirement of fasting by devotees.[20]

Significance

The significance of the festival is that it indicates the victory of good over evil and establishment of dharma to beat adharma. The Ram Navami festival celebration starts with jal (water) offering in the early morning to Surya (a sun god) to get blessings from him. People also believe that descendants of Surya were ancestors of Rama.[21][22]

Outside India

Rama Navami is one of the Hindu festivals that is celebrated by the Indian diaspora with roots in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.[23] The descendants of Indian indentured servants who were forced to leave India due to British-engineered famines and then promised jobs in colonial South Africa before 1910 in British-owned plantations and mines, and thereafter lived under the South African apartheid regime, continued to celebrate Ram Navami by reciting the Ramayana and by singing bhajans of Tyagaraja and Bhadrachala Ramdas. The tradition continues in contemporary times in the Hindu temples of Durban every year.[24]

Similarly, in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, other Caribbean countries, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, and many other countries with Hindu descendants of colonial-era indentured workers forced to leave British India have continued to observe Rama Navami along with their other traditional festivals.[25]

It is also celebrated by Hindus in Fiji and those Fiji Hindus who have re-migrated elsewhere.[26]

Why is Rama Navami celebrated?

Rama Navami celebrates the birth of the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya as the son of King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of the Raghu Kula (Solar Dynasty). He was born on the ninth day of Chaitra month, at noon. This day coincides with the ninth day of Chaitra (Vasanta) Navratri, which is the day the fasting concludes. As per the Gregorian calendar, the festival falls in the month of March or April.

The celebration of Rama Navami is done with devotion and joy. Houses are decorated and deity idols are beautifully decorated with flowers, clothes and jewels. The celebrations include fasting, singing of devotional songs, visiting temple and recitation of hymns from Rama Charitmanas. In some places, the celebrations start from the first day of Chaitra Navratri until Navami, while Rama Lila, a theatrical enactment of Ramayana, recitation of Ramayana, chariot procession of Rama, Sita and Laxman idols is done, discourse on Ramayana by story-tellers and satsangs are organized at few places.

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ "Rama Navami in India".
  2. ^ "Rama Navami in India". www.timeanddate.com. Retrieved 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Ram Navami BBC.
  4. ^ The nine-day festival of Navratri leading up to Sri Rama Navami has bhajans, kirtans and discourses in store for devoteesArchived 7 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d Hindus around the world celebrate Ram Navami today, DNA, 8 April 2014
  6. ^ a b c James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 562. ISBN 978-0-8239-3180-4.
  7. ^ Holiday Calendar, High Court of Karnataka, Government
  8. ^ Ramnavami The Times of India, 2 April 2009.
  9. ^ "President and PM greet people as India observes Ram Navami today". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ Ramnavami Govt. of India Portal.
  11. ^ Sitamarhi,(Fiji Islands) , Encyclopedia Britannica (2014), Quote: "A large Ramanavami fair, celebrating the birth of Lord Rama, is held in spring with considerable trade in pottery, spices, brass ware, and cotton cloth. A cattle fair held in Sitamarhi is the largest in Bihar state. The town is sacred as the birthplace of the goddess Sita (also called Janaki), the wife of Rama."
  12. ^ On Ram Navami, we celebrate our love for the ideal Archived 7 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine Indian Express, Monday, 31 March 2003.
  13. ^ Shobha yatra on Ram Navami eve Archived 7 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine Indian Express, Thursday, 25 March 1999.
  14. ^ Steven Rosen (2006). Essential Hinduism. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-275-99006-0.
  15. ^ a b c d Constance A Jones (2011). J. Gordon Melton (ed.). Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. ABC-CLIO. pp. 739-740. ISBN 978-1-59884-206-7.
  16. ^ "Ram Navami 2021: Date and Who Is Aadi Ram? | SA News Channel". S A NEWS. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  17. ^ "Sree Ramaseva Mandali, Retrospect | Our Impact". www.ramanavami.org.
  18. ^ Logs for Trinity's chariots arrive in Odisha's Puri town, Odisha Sun Times (24 January 2016)
  19. ^ All set for grand Ram Navami Shobhayatra, The Hitavada (15 Apr 2016)
  20. ^ Zaidman, N. (2000). "The Integration of Indian Immigrants to Temples Run by North Americans". Social Compass. 47 (2): 205-219. doi:10.1177/003776800047002005. S2CID 144392375. Another example of a religious enterprise initiated by a board member was the organization of Lord Ramachandra Appearance Day (Sri Ram Navami).
  21. ^ "SIGNIFICANCE OF RAM NAVAMI FESTIVAL". Speaking Tree.
  22. ^ "Ram Navami: History, Significance and Importance of worshipping Lord Ram on last day of Chaitra Navratri". Jagran English. 30 March 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ "Ram Navami 2020 to be observed on 2 April: All you need to know about the festival, celebrations - India News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  24. ^ Paula Richman (2008), Ways of Celebrating Ram's Birth: Ramayana Week in Durban, South Africa, Religions Of South Asia, Volume 2 Issue 2, pages 109-133
  25. ^ Steven Vertovec (1992). Hindu Trinidad: Religion, Ethnicity and Socio-Economic Change. Macmillan Academic. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-333-53505-9.
  26. ^ Brian A. Hatcher (2015). Hinduism in the Modern World. Routledge. pp. 116-117. ISBN 978-1-135-04631-6.

External links

Ram Navami Special - Shri Raam Nam Mahima


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