Navarathri is a holy period for Hindus. Nava means nine while Rathri means nights as the festival is mainly celebrated at night in kovils, houses, schools and business establishments.
This festival starts the day after the 'Amavasai' ('Amavaka') on the 'Prathamai' thithi in the month of October. This year, the Navarathri festival began on October 12.
The first three days are dedicated to the Goddess Durga. Durga is worshipped for courage. This Goddess has 'Chanku' and 'Chankram' on her hands.
The next three days are dedicated for the worshipping of Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the Goddess who showers wealth and money. There are eight Lakshmis, Veera Lakshmi, Gaja Lakshmi, Sandhana Lakshmi, Dhaniya Lakshmi, Aadi Lakshmi, Dhana Lakshmi, Aiswarya Lakshmi and Vijaya Lakshmi. Each Lakshmi is worshipped for different reasons. However, all of them are the same Shakthi but with different avatharam for different purposes. 'Veeram' means courage while the 'Dhanyam' denotes grains such as paddy/rice, grams, green gram etc. 'Vijayam' means success and victory while 'Aiswaryam' means wealth.
The last three days are dedicated to Saraswathi for a good education.
The Goddess Saraswathi appears with the musical instrument 'Veenai' in her hands and also with a book and a pearl chain, as she has four hands.
The tenth-day is called Vijayathasami. On this day, parents start educating their children for the first time. Hindu priests hold the palms of children and guide them to write the Tamil alphabet and numeric digits on raw rice in the kovils.
Business establishments too celebrate 'Vijayathasami' day, for prosperity and an abundance of wealth and success.