''Navaratri'', the traditional Hindu festival of India

Happy Navaratri 2020 inextlive.com

Navaratri  Golu in Tamil Nadu and other southern states.  indianexpress.com

Navaratri, an important Hindu festival across  India, is a 9-day celebrations.  The festivity  actually lasts for 10  long days and 9 nights and it is believed to be  the most auspicious time of the year. Though Navaratri comes four times a year, the ones that fall in the month of  March-April  (Chaithra Navaratri) and September- October (called Sharad Navaratri) gain significance. Some times the Chaithra Navaratri may last till the end of Ramanavami (birth of Sri Rama).  The rituals and traditions vary among the states. The 9th day  marks Saraswati Puja, special prayers are offered to goddess Saraswati who symbolizes  wisdom and enlightenment. Books and musical instruments are traditionally placed in the puja and worshipped with devotion as a source of knowledge. The 10th day is equally important called  Vijayadasami day; on this day the evil was vanished by the goddess Durga who emerges from her marital home -Kailash on the first day of celebrations. On the Vijayadasami  day, young kids are, for the first time, introduced to  alphabet in their native language. A Guru/teacher will guide the kid to write the letters on  a brass plate  of rice mixed with turmeric powder , etc., after prayer to the deity. Called   Vidyarambham (Sanskrit), it  is a Hindu tradition, common in the southern states. It is a simple ceremony for a child between the age of 2-5years. In Kerala and elsewhere, it is mostly held on the temple premises. Across Tamil Nadu and elsewhere,  Ayudha puja is celebrated on this day and the workers, taxi, bus and auto drivers place flowers, etc., on them and and the machinery pray  as  they play a key role in their livelihood. 

Golu (display of colorful dolls), Tamil Nadu,  Pinrest.com

Ramlila, burning the effigy of Ravana,North India. ravabuzzingbubs.com

Dasara celebration on the palace ground,Mysore, Karnataka, newindianexpress.com

Dasara festival Chamundiswari temple,Mysore, Karnataka, Pinrest.com 

Durga Puja, W. Bengal and NE India. nenow.in

West Bengal women celebrating Durga Puja, India. gettyimages.ca

In West Bengal  and in te NE states Navaratri goes by the name of   Durga Puja,  10 - day  event that begins with Mahalaya (on  this day Hindus perform tharpanam  for their forefathers)   and  devotees spend a lot of time and money to  display Durga idols in specially erected temporary Pandals (shelters). It is widely celebrated in homes  as well. In public places, the size and decorations vary from place to place. It is part of Bengali Hindu culture and   Durga puja is an prominent festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism   During the festivities, there will be public procession of Durga idols, recitations of scriptures,  performance of arts, etc. There will be family visits, exchange of gifts, etc. 

 In Karnataka, in the  the heritage city of Mysore, it is celebrated  with great pomp and joy. People in thousands visit the city to witness the Navaratri  celebrations in which the Mysore royal prince and the royal family take special interest. The Dasara celebrations of the family are quite popular across Karnataka and  India.. The entire palace and the place ground are colorfully decorated and at night are lit  with colorful lights (with more than 100000  bulbs). As early as the 15th century, the Dasara festivities  began with the Vijayanagar kings . In the 14th century, it was a great event in the  Vijayanagara Empire, where it was called Mahanavami. The the royal family of Wadiyars continued the tradition on a small scale  at Srirangapatna  - (1578-1617 CE) in mid September 1610.  After the fall of Vijanagara, when the region came under the Deccan Sultanate, the Hindu celebrations came to an end. The tradition resumed in the Mysore palace  only after the fall of Tipu Sultan in 1798-99 In the Mysore city various cultural and dance programs take place during the festival time. 

People in Maharastra celebrate it as Gudi Padwa, while Kashmiri Hindus observe it as Navreh.
The festival is  celebrated in southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka as Ugadi where God Shakti is worshipped. In the state of Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated with great devotion.  

Vidhyarambham, Kerala. quickerala.com

In Kerala, the  devotees go to the temples and pray to the deities there. This festival is also celebrated for Navagraha Naayagi (Nine nymphs). Vidhyarambham is a major event during the festival days. Initiation of young kids to the world of knowledge is a must  and it is held as a small ceremony at  temples. There are certain temples in Kerala  earmarked for Vidhyarambham.  In Andhra and Tamil Nadu, many temples  as well as homes display Navaratri Golu, - display of an array of  colorful dolls  symbolic of episodes from the Hindu mythology. In the state of Gujarat  Gu dandiya nights are popular. Major Hindu temples such as the Meenakshi temple, Madurai,  Thanjavur Brihadeshwara temple, etc.,  arrange golu display during the  Navaratri. The display of Golu at home  was prevalent among the Brahmin communities in the past in Tamil Nadu and now it has become a common  feature of Navaratri  celebrations in many homes  and other states. 
In the northern states of India the Navaratri celebrations known as ''Ramlila'are associated with the triumph of Sri Rama over the demon king of Lanka Ravana. The dramatic performances of Ramlila in Delhi are quite famous.  These performances or shows deal with  the dramatic re-enactment of the life of  Sri Rama, (of the epic Ramayana),  from the first day of the Navratri  and culminates on Dasara (Vijayadasami day), when the effigies of  Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhkaran are burnt.  These public shows are attended by a large number of people. Such shows are allowed only at certain places. An interesting fact is  the episodes from the Ramayana are enacted by  many teams  in both rural and urban areas. Such shows are  a blend of  devotional songs, plays, recitals and  story-telling, etc. and they take place in every evening, in different places in the northern states. The people in the audience watch these alluring shows  with rapt attention.

Derived from Sanskrit words meaning nine nights (nava means nine, ratri means nights) each day is dedicated to one of the nine avatars of goddess Durga (the avatars are: Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. Each day of worship is associated with  a particular color. Symbolic of the victory over the evil, the Goddess (Durga) kills (on the Vijayadasami day) demon Mahishasuran, an embodiment of evil, arrogance and ego.