Navaratri is the ritual observance for propitiating the Mother of the Universe, Ambika. This is celebrated with grandeur all over India, especially in Bengal. Of the seasons, Vasanta ritu (spring) and Sharad ritu (autumn) engender ailments and give distress. Therefore these two are termed as the fangs of Yama, God of Death. Hence Navaratri is observed , to get relief from them. Due to ceremonial fasting as well as observance of personal hygiene, the body becomes more resistant as well the mind remains in devotional fervour. Moreover Goddess Durga is as the name suggests, the remover of all obstacles, hence it is most appropriate to honour Her with our devotion. This is observed for nine days & nights.

Those who cannot observe this ritual for all the nine days should observe it at least for the last three days of Saptami, Ashtami and Navami. Of the two most popular navaratris, the one that falls in the spring season is called Vasanta Navaratri commencing from the Prathama (first day) of the bright fortnight of the month of (Chaitra) Chittirai upto the Navami (ninth day). The second one is Sharad Navaratri observed during the same period but in the month of (Ashvayuja) Purattasi. It is the second which is the most popular and celebrated by masses in a grand manner.

Though the proper worship commences on the day following the Amavasya, the establishment of the deity in either pot (ghata) or in a lamp takes place on Amavasya day itself. On the days while observing the vrata, one should wake up early and complete morning ablutions. After the completion of the puja and parayana of scriptural prayer texts, follows an important part of the worship called suvasini puja. Treating and considering Goddess Ambika to be present in all sumangalis (married ladies) they should be worshipped, given garment, ornaments and food and they should be offered kunkum, tambulam (betel leaves with areca nuts), flowers, mirror, comb, bangles, coconut and clothes.

Ambika is worshipped as Durga during the first three days, as Lakshmi in the middle three days and as Saraswati in the last three days. On the Mahanavami day, also called as Saraswati puja, Ayudha puja etc. books, equipment, tools and instruments are worshipped.

During the first three days Ambika is worshipped as Kumari, Trimoorti and Kalyani for physical strength, mental courage, long life and for living free from grief. During the succeeding three days, she is invoked as Rohini, Kali and Chandika for wealth and prosperity, good conjugal partnership and for extinguishing all problems arising from monetary dealings. When she is invoked as Shambhavi, Durga and Subhadra, on the last three days, one acquires mastery in all fine arts and excels in knowledge.

If it is not possible to perform this worship on all the nine days, the Triumvirate Goddesses should be propitiated on Durgashtami, Mahanavami and Vijayadashami. Everyday auspicious gifts should be given at least to one sumangali or to a virgin maiden. Offering food to at least one sumangali on Fridays during Navaratri will confer welfare. Every day verses extolling the Goddess i.e. Devi Stotras should be recited. It is also a matter of practice to sing bhajans and songs in praise of Mother during the ritual.

Devi Bhagavata alludes that Rama could retrieve Sita from Ravana only by observing the Navaratri ritual. Hence, by adhering to the procedure of observance, may we secure the grace of Ambika.