The birth anniversary of Lord Rama is known as Ramnavami. Ram is also known to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. India is the only country which has majority of Hindus, so the celebrations are primarily in India. However, this does not mean the festival is not celebrated in other places. With Indians spread all over the world, the festival of Ramnavami is celebrated almost everywhere in the world! It is considered as one of the five, most sacred festivals of the Hindu religion. Even those who do not celebrate would have definitely heard of famous 'Ram Leela'. It is a musical dance drama that depicts the life of Ram. Temples and idols of Ram are beautifully decorated. Some of the devotees observe rigorous fasts for all the nine days and eat only fruit and milk once a day. They believe fasting will please the gods and bring blessings upon them.
Lord Ram is one of the most important Gods of the Hindu religion, and as such, the day holds great significance. As the story goes, His was not just a normal birth of a child. It was birth that brought hope to the entire kingdom. Dasharath, the King of Ayodhya, had three wives, Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi, but did not have any children for a very long time. The kingdom was without an heir. After a long wait King Dashrath was very worried. He was then led by Maharshi Rudhya Shrunga into a Yagya named the Puthra Kamesti Yagna. As a consequence Yagneshwar appeared and gave Dashrath a vessel of kheer that he was supposed to give his wives. The yagya paid off as all the three wives had sons. Ram was born to Kausalaya. Bharat was born to Kaikeyi and Laxman and Shatrugan were born to Sumitra as twins.
Ram was said to be the incarnation of Vishnu, who took birth by his own will. The purpose of Ram's birth was to protect his devotees and destroy the asura named Raavan.
Celebration and Rituals
Most people fast on this occasion. Some fast only on the day, while others fast for nine days. During these fasts they do not have anything made in salt, turmeric, garlic, ginger or onion. Potatoes, fruits and any root vegetable can be consumed. Celebrations also vary from place to place. While some places the celebration is only on the day of Ram navami, others have celebrations for complete nine days. As in any sacred festival, the entire house is washed and cleaned. Bhajans are sung to Lord Ram, His brother Lakshman, His wife Sita and His devotee Hanuman. 'Satsangs' and religious meets are organized to commemorate the event. Idols of the same are placed and worshipped.
The pooja thali is prepared and consists of roli, aipun, rice, water, flower, bell, and a conch. During this time events of Ram's life are narrated as per the Ramayana by Valmiki and Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas. The entire family gets together to worship and they begin with the youngest female putting teeka on the male members of the family. Other than the pooja, the fast and the bhajans, there is also the Rath Yatra. A huge fair is organized in Ayodhya and Rath yatras or 'chariot processions' of the idols of Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman are taken out on streets as part of the Ramanavami celebrations. The places for worship are filled with fervor of religious people showing their love towards their gods.
According the Hindu or the Lunar calendar, Ramnavami is celebrated on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra. This date usually falls somewhere between April and March as per the Gregorian or the western calendar. It is celebrated in all parts of the country. The major spots for the celebration are at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh (Ram's birth place), Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh and Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. Innumerable devotees come from short and long distances to join in the festivities.
Rama Navmi celebration celebrations mark the birth anniversary of Lord Rama. Know more about the festival with this write-up.
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