Ram Navami (Devanāgarī: राम नवमी) also known as Sri Rama Navami (IAST SriRām-navamī) is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya. Ram is the 7th incarnation of the Dashavatara of Vishnu. Years later Lord Rama was married to Sita on the Vivaha Panchami. The sacred marriage of Devi Sita with Lord Rama was held on Margashirsha Shukla Panchami as per Valmiki Ramayana (This occasion is known as Seetha kalyanam). The Rama Navami festival falls in the Shukla Paksha on the Navami, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. Thus it is also known as Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations.
In the epic Ramayana, Dasharatha, the Emperor from Ayodhya, had three wives named Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi in the Treta Yuga, which follows the Satya Yuga and is succeeded by Dwapara Yuga. Their greatest worry was that they had no children, and so they had no heir to the throne in the Ikshvaku Kula or royal lineage of great, pious, wonderful Emperors. Rishi Vasistha suggests him to perform Puthra Kamesti Yagna, through which he can have a desired child. He also tells him to invite Maharshi Rishyasringa to perform this yagna for him. Emperor Dasharatha consents and heads to Maharshi Rishyasringa's ashram, to invite him. Maharshi agrees and accompanies Emperor Dasharatha to Ayodhya (Capital of Avadha) and performs the yagna. As the result of this yagna, Yagneshwara appears and provides Dasharatha a bowl of divine pudding (Kheer/Payasam) and requests him to give it to his wives. Dasharatha gives one half of the payasam to his elder wife Kausalya, and another half to his younger wife Kaikeyi. They both give half of their portions to Sumitra. After few days all three Queens conceive. On the ninth day (Navami) of Chaithra Masa (first month in Vedic calendar), at noon Kausalya gives birth to Rama, Kaikeyi gives birth to Bharata, and Sumitra to twin boys,Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
Some highlights of this day include
- Kalyanam, a ceremonial wedding performed by temple priests
- Panakam, a sweet drink prepared on this day with jaggery and pepper.
- Procession of murtis in the evening, accompanied by playing with water and colours.
How can we all incorporate elements of Ram Navami into our day to honor this festival’s sentiment? Well light a candle, white because most weddings utilize the color. Give to a children’s charity and restrict your diet. This festival is big on fasting and strict diet allowance. Implement a raw , organic veggie diet- no meat or dairy. And of course it is known that meditation promotes mental and physical healing. Oh yeah and wear bright colors as a symbol of the beauty of nature and flowers.