Navratri is celebrated twice during the course of one year. The first day of Vikram Samvat and the first date of the Chaitra marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri, the first of the two. After a span of six months, in Ashwin people get a chance to celebrate Navratri again. It commence from the Shukla Pratipada of the month of Ashwin. Dussera is celebrated immediately after the Navratri. This second Navratri, also called Shardiya Navratri holds more importance than the previous one.
In an attempt to attain mental and spiritual power, people observe fast and practice abstinence, rules, sacrifice, Yoga and meditation during the course of nine days. Few devotees also sit in Padmasana and Siddhasana pose to chant the Tratak or Beej Mantra. Many devotees pay pilgrimage to the Shakti Pith, 51 of them are dotted around India, to worship Shakti, the goddess of power. Those who are unable to reach the Pith, prefer to worship at home.
At the cusp of transition
The earth completes the rotation of the sun in an year, which involves 4 quarters. Two Navratris occur during Chaitra and Ashwin quarters. People easily fall prey to various diseases during these phase of trasition or Sandhis. Hence, to observe fast and undergo a purification process also has an objective to keep oneself healthy during Navratra.
Nine nights for nine openings
The fasts of devotees start from the new moon day till the noon of Ashtmi or Navmi. As it is a festival of nine nights, it is termed as Navratra. Metaphorically, the human body is said to have nine openings. So it can also be said that these nine nights are a chance to look after the nine openings in our physical form.