Maha Navami or Mahanavami is the final day of Navratri celebrations. This day comes with mixed feelings. On one side the passion reaches to its highest on this day while on the other side, devotees get emotional as this day marks the end of Navratri celebrations. Celebrations of Mahanavami varies from state to state in India.
On the ninth day of the Navratri, goddess is worshipped as Durga and offered sugarcane stalks. Kanya puja is also practiced on this day in different parts of India like Punjab, Harayana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In Kanya puja, nine young girls (who have not attained puberty) are invited in houses and are feasted with puri, chana ki sabzi, kheer and halwa. These girls are treated as nine forms of the goddess and are honored by washing their feet and putting tilak on their forehead. Devotees also present them certain gifts like clothes and fruits.
In Kerala, Saraswati puja is practiced on ashtmi, a day before Mahanavami. The Mahanavami day is treated as resting day. People don’t begin new activities on this day and children don’t even study on this day.
The celebrations of Navratri end on Ashtmi instead of navami in some parts of Kashmir, Harayana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharastra. Ashtmi, the eight day of Navratri is also considered as the birthday of Parvati, the form of Durga.