The new moon day known as the Mahalaya Amavasya is the beginning of Dussehra. It is a special day dedicated to making an offering to express our gratitude to all the previous generations of people who have contributed to our life. During this time, in the Indian subcontinent, new crops would have just begun to bear yield. So their first produce is offered to the ancestors as a mark of respect and thankfulness, by way of pinda, before the whole population breaks into celebration in the form of other festivals like Navratri, Vijayadashami and Diwali.
Navaratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga. The word Navaratri means 'nine nights' in Sanskrit, navameaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Devi are worshipped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or "Dussehra". Navaratri represents a celebration of the Goddess Amba, (the Power). Navratri commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashwin. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during the beginning of October, although as the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less. The NINE colors of Navratri collectively represent the spirit of a woman, who possesses the grace and valor of the Goddess Durga herself. Navaratri is celebrated five times a year. They are Vasanta Navaratri, Ashadha Navaratri, the Sharad Navaratri, the Paush/Magha Navaratri and the Magha Navaratri.
Ayudha Puja is a part of the Dussehra festival which is usually celebrated on the ninth day of Navratri festival. It is a celebration involving the worship of the tools which makes ones living. It is believed that by placing these implements in front of the Divine on this day will ritually purify the tools. It is believed that by this way of worshipping we consider those tools and implements which make our living as God. In South India Ayudha Puja is also celebrated as Saraswathi Puja where children pace their study books on an altar and worship the Goddess Saraswathi who is considered to be the God for education. Goddess Saraswati is represented as a graceful woman in white, a symbol of purity and peace. She is the Goddess who signifies knowledge, learning, arts and culture. She is seen as the serene Goddess wearing a crescent moon on her brow riding a swan or seated on a lotus flower. Saraswati Puja is performed to pay allegiance to the Goddess of learning.
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