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Ramnavami is celebrated to rejoice the birth anniversary of Lord Rama. Lord Rama, the embodiment of perfection (uttama purush) is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ram Navami is a nine day festival which starts from Ugadi, the beginning of the Hindu New Year.
The birthday of Rama Chandra is observed on the ninth day of the waxing moon of the month Chaitra (March-April).
Some observe a strict fast on this day.
It was on this day that Vishnu incarnated as Ram through Dasharath's wife Kaushalya.
This day is also important because the celebrated Sanskrit poet Tulsi Dasa started composing his classic Ram Charit Manas on this day.
The devotees take a bath in Saryu river on this day. The fast on this day reminds us about the righteousness of Ram, his devotion to his teacher, parents,brother, wife and the citizens of Ayodhya. The temples of Ram are illuminated and his image adorned with costly ornaments. The Ramayana is read in the temples.
The ancient texts lays tress on fasting on this day, and it is believed that anyone who does not fast will go to the worst hell. It is also said that Rama fulfills the wishes of all those who pray to him on this day.
Ayodhya is the focus of great celebrations. A huge fair is organized for two days. Ratha yatras or 'chariot processions' of Rama and his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman, are taken out from many temples. Hanuman is worshipped for his unflinching devotion to Rama, and his worship forms an important part of the Ramanavami celebrations.
In Andhra Pradesh it is celebrated with great religious fervour at the Sri Seetha Ramchandraswami temple annually in March-April at Bhadrachalam near Warangal.
It is celebrated in Jaipur (Rajasthan) in honour of Ram's birth, when a big fair is held at Gattaji in Jaipur.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh region, there is a tradition of sowing wheat, urad or grams (5-7 kinds) on this occasion, on the floor of the house or in baskets.
It is possible that in ancient times, only barley seeds were sown, so it was called Jawara, later on Navrat Navratri. From the very first day an earthen vessel is installed, before which a light is kept burning for all the nine days and nights.
On the eighth day yagya (Hom-Havana) is performed. The seedlings are worshipped every morning and evening. On the ninth day, among the singing of songs and playing on musical instruments, the seedlings are immersed in water. A black he-goat is slaughtered on this day. After this the Jawara seedlings are distributed among friends communicating good wishes. The offer of Jawara is symbolic of the strength of the man. The songs sung on the occasion pertain to Yakshas, also mentioning Yakshasinis, who are the attendants of the goddesses Mehmai, Bhavani, Shitala, Buddhimai, Durga. The female Sakti (power) are incorporated in the songs. Thus Ram worship and Shakti worship are synthesized into one at this occasion.