Rama Navami
   Rama Navami is a special day of worship of Lord RAMA. It takes place on the ninth day of the bright half of the lunar month Chaitra (April–May), considered the birthday of Lord RAMA; he was born at noon. All devotees of Rama must perform this worship, and others may do it optionally. It is accompanied by a vow of fasting beginning the previous night. If one performs the veneration properly, one is said to have one’s sins destroyed and may even acquire MOKSHA or release from birth and rebirth.
   Rama Navami is a popular observance. After a night of fasting, the following day the devotee performs worship before an image of Rama and makes a fire offering for Rama in a small specially created shrine; the celebration continues with a japa, or repetition of the MANTRA to Rama, the sec-ond night. Once the observance is complete the image is given to a learned BRAHMIN.
   Only the most orthodox perform the full ritual these days. It is, however, observed en masse in places significant for Rama such as AYODHYA and Rameshvaram.
   Further reading: C. J. Fuller, The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India (Princeton, N.J.: Princ-eton University Press, 1992); Anita Ganeri, Hindu Festi-vals Throughout the Year (Mankato, Minn.: Smart Apple Media, 2003); Swami Harshananda, Hindu Festivals and Sacred Days (Bangalore: Ramakrishna Math, 1994).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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