The festival of Navratri is celebrated in the month of Aso i.e. Ashwin approximately between 15th of September to 15th of October. This festival is celebrated in order to worship the Goddess Shakti. In many places, this festival has been split into three categories, i.e., three days for the worship of Ma Durga, for strength and power, three days for Ma Saraswati for knowledge and three days for the worship of Ma Laxmi for wealth and prosperity. Therefore, Navratri is a long festival celebrated continuously for nine days.
During this period many people fast by taking only fruit and milk and at many places yagnas' take place as a form of worship.
There is a well-known tale behind this festival. In ancient times, a demon called Mahishasura had been harassing the Devas and humans. The Devas convened and prayed to Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Due to their anger on Mahishasura, a Divine Energy was generated. The Devas and humans welcomed it with chants and worshipped it. The Gods instilled this Energy with their own Divine attributes. This Divine Energy, termed Shakti fought a continuous battle with the Demon for nine days. She managed to defeat Mahishasura and killed him. Thus, both the Devas and humans were greatly relieved.
It is the Divine power of Jagdamba or Ma Durga, which we worship during Navratri. A look at history shows us how evil forces have continually overpowered the good thoughts. To escape from the grip of evil, those possessing Divine thoughts have always been at war with them. To overcome this, people have given up their comforts and have prepared themselves for difficulties, which have come their ways. This too is a form of penance and worship. This victory of good over the evil is God's gift to humanity.
Although this festival is celebrated each year by traditional dances called Raas Garbas, where children, men and women get together for a joyous time, It is also important to remember that this is the time to worship Ma Jagdamba for shakti and enrich their lives with the Divine Power to combat their inner enemies. To establish a healthy society is also a message of this festival. A man on the wrong track can tread the right path if he sees all women as Ma Jagdamba. Women have a definite role in society and to awaken in them the latent power is also the aim of this festival. She should be aware of the power of creation she possesses and should not forget her role as a mother and be proud to fulfill this role with dignity.