'Nav' means 'Nine' and 'Ratri' means 'Night'. Thus, Navratri means festival of 'Nine Nights'. There are many legends attached to the conception of Navratri like all Indian festivals. All of them are related to Goddess shakti and her various forms. This year it starts on 16th October, 2012 and ends on 24th October, 2012 called as Dussehra or Vijaya dasami.
To protect the world from the atrocities of Mahishasura, the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva united their powers and created a divine female warrior Goddess shakti, known as 'Goddess Durga' or 'Adhya Shakti'. Mahishasura was So fascinated by Goddess Durga's beauty that he approached her with the intention of marriage. The goddess agreed to marry him, but put forth a condition - He would have to win over her in a battle. He agreed immediately! The battle continued for nine nights and at the end of the ninth night, Goddess Durga beheaded Mahishasura. The nine nights came to be known as Navratri, while the tenth day was called Dussehra or Vijaya dasami, the tenth day that brought the triumph of good over evil.
In western India, Navratri is celebrated with nine nights of dancing. The traditional dances of Gujurat, known as Garba and Dandiya Raas, are performed in circles with dancers dressed up in colorful clothes. Small, decorated sticks called Dandiyas are used in the Dandiya Raas.
In Mumbai, dancing takes over stadiums and clubs throughout the city. While some of it has retained a traditional flavor, the introduction of disco dandiya has given Mumbai's Navratri celebrations a glamorous and modern twist.
The festival is celebrated all over India but in different ways. The most flamboyant and renowned Navaratri celebrations can be seen in western India, throughout the state of Gujarat and in Mumbai. In West Bengal, Navaratri and Dussehra are celebrated as Durga Puja.In South India the festival includes other female deities an dedicates three days of the festival to Lakshmi, the femalearchetype of wealth and fortune, and another three to Saraswati, the female archetype of learning, music and knowledge.