The Colors of Navratri

How to add a dash of color to the nine-day Navratri festival that is getting underway

Bindu Gopal Rao

Dussehra, Dasara, or Navratri is a nine-day-long festival that celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. These nine nights have a specific color for each of them, and you can dress accordingly. Here is a helpful guide.

Ghatasthapana/Pratipada, Day 1: October 7 – Yellow

The first day is dedicated to Goddess Shailaputri, a form of Parvati. Shaila means extraordinary, one who reaches great heights. The goddess bears a trident and a lotus in her hands, and sits on a bull. It is believed that the worship of Goddess Shailaputri helps achieve a high state of consciousness. Yellow is worn on this day because it celebrates the color of bright sunshine, optimism, and joy. The goddess is offered a rice flour sweet called chalimidi, as well as lheer and Vadapappu, soaked moong.

Dwitiya, Day 2: October 8 – Green

The second day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharni, another form of Parvati, one who has done extreme penance and is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. Adorned with the rudraksha, she bears a water pot and rosary in her hands. This is a day of meditation, the color for which is green, symbolizing nature and prosperity. Sweet boondhi and chickpeas are offered as prasad.

Tritiya, Day 3: October 9 – Gray

Dedicated to Goddess Chandraghanta, a form of Durga who sits on a tiger as a symbol of strength, her hands gestures bless devotees and also discourage misdeeds. The Chandra in her name refers to the half-moon on her forehead. The day’s color is gray, and the offerings include tamarind rice (puliogare) and rava kesari. The goddess is also offered milk.

Panchami, Day 4: October 10 – Orange

This day is dedicated to Goddess Kushmanda, whose name is associated with the creation of the cosmic universe from a divine egg. The eight-armed goddess, who sits atop a tiger and holds a rosary and other weapons, is seen as a form of energy. This is also one reason why the day’s color is bright orange, a hue known for its warmth and exuberance. Tamarind rice and lentil vadas are usually made as offerings on this day.

Sashti, Day 5: October 11 – White

Goddess Skandmata seated on a lion and represents the love of a mother as  she blesses her devotees with wisdom, wealth, power, and prosperity. With three eyes and four hands, she holds two lotuses and has symbols of defense while also granting boons. White, the color of this day, symbolizes serenity and peace. Bananas are offered as prasad on this day.

Saptami, Day 6: October 12 – Red

Goddess Katyayani, worshiped on this day, destroys evil forces and slays the demon Mahishasura. Seated on a lion, she has three eyes and four arms. The color of the day is red, signifying health, life, infinite courage, love, and intense passion. It is usually the color of a chunri (or duppata) offered to the goddess. Beaten rice, jaggery, coconut and channa dal are offered to the goddess.

Ashtami, Day 7: October 13 – Royal Blue

This day represents night and is dedicated to Goddess Kalaratri, a fierce form of Durga. The goddess is worshiped at night, and people believe she destroys the fear of darkness. The goddess, who sits atop a donkey, has four hands, two bearing a cleaver and a torch each, and performing mudras (elaborate hand movements). The day’s color is royal blue, which is associated with royalty and elegance. The goddess is offered vada, lemon juice with ginger, and items made with jaggery.

Navami, Day 8: October 14 – Pink

Goddess Mahagauri, known for her inner beauty and freedom, is worshiped on this day. Known as a source of life-giving energy, she radiates peace and compassion. Her arms hold a drum and a trident, and she sits on a bull. Pink, the color of the day, represents universal love, affection, feminine charm, harmony, and kindness. Sweet Pongal and coconuts are offered on this day.

Dashami, Day 9: October 15 – Purple

Goddess Siddhidatri is worshiped on the last day. She sits on a lotus and is believed to have the ability to grant 26 different wishes to her devotees, making the impossible, possible. Purple, the color of the day, symbolizes the energy of red and the stability of blue. The goddess is offered sesame-based dishes on that day.