Darbhanga Bihar Keeping alive a decades-old tradition, a Muslim family in Bihar Monday celebrated Ramnavami, the birth anniversary of Hindu god Lord Ram, in yet another example of communal amity in India. Shamim Ansari, in his late 20s, is proud of his family tradition that also includes helping Hindu neighbours in making preparations for holy offerings and rituals.  

The birth anniversary of Lord Rama is celebrated in the month of Chaitra, which usually falls in March or April according to the Hindu calendar is known as Ramnavami. Ramnavami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day (navami). The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign. Ramrajya (the reign of Rama) has become synonymous with a period of peace and prosperity. It is celebrated with great devotion across the nation and every region has its own regional significance behind the celebration. The public worship starts with morning ablutions, chanting Vedic mantras dedicated to Vishnu, and offering flowers and fruit to the god. People keep a fast throughout the day, breaking it only at midnight with fruit.

The Ramayana is a story of Lord Rama, written by the sage Valmiki in the 4th century B.C. As the legend goes, Lord Rama, eldest son of King Dashratha, was banished to the forest for 14 long years. He was dethroned due to his stepmother’s plans who wanted to see her son Bharata ascend the throne in place of the elder brother Rama. Rama willingly gave away the throne and his wife Sita and brother Lakshman followed Rama to the forest, leaving the throne for Bharata.

Lord Rama was the ideal son, a righteous King, an upright husband and a loving brother. He also led an ideal life of a householder. He was also the true embodiment of humanity. Ram Navami is a therefore a special reminder of the noble ideals for which Lord Rama stood. The festival of Ram Navami marks the birthday celebrations of the Hindu Lord Rama, who is considered to be one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. According to the Hindu calendar, it falls on the ninth day of the Chaitra month, which is the Spring season. In some parts of India, it is celebrated as a nine-day festival that coincides with Vasanta Navratri, dedicated to the female force or Divine Mother better known as Durga or Shakti.
Time(indian calendar Tithi):
Best time to visit: Ayodhya, Apr 14
The cold weather commences early in November and comes to an end in the middle of March. The climate in the cold weather is pleasant. The hot weather then sets in and lasts till the middle of June. Like other parts of the northern India,Bihar also experiences dust-storms,thunder-storms and dust raising winds during the hot season. The highest temperature is often registered in May which is the hottest month in the state. The rainy season commences after summer and continues till the end of September.
In these 14 years of banishment, Rama waged and won a war against the evil Ravana, the King of Lanka, who had kidnapped his wife Sita. He was aided by a band of monkeys, the most loyal of whom is worshipped today as Lord Hanuman. Rama ascended the Ayodhya throne after the triumph over Ravana. Even as he started ruling, he was forced to banish his wife from the kingdom, following a villager’s adverse comment about her association with Ravana. The legend is cited to prove how Lord Rama always lived a life of righteousness (dharma). He was born to destroy the evil and protect the weak. As he embodies the highest ideals of man, he is called the Maryada Pushottam, which means the perfect and best man, someone who follows the path of righteousness against all odds.
Importance of festival:
Ram Navami is one of the most important festivals of the Vaishnav sect of Hindus. In the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, early morning rituals mark Ram Navami. It entails a havan, chanting of Vedic mantras and offerings of fruits and flowers. A Rama temple is beautifully decorated and the image of the Lord Rama is adorned with rich clothes and jewels. Stories from the Ramayana are read out in joyous public gatherings and satsangs. Most people fast until midnight. They break their fast with a prasad of fruits and milk. This festival is celebrated with great pomp and glory even in Pondicherry, Rishikesh and Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama. The Ram Navami fair held at Ayodhya draws a huge crowd of dedicated devotees. In the South, this festival is celebrated for nine days as the wedding of Lord Rama and his lovely consort Sita. People sing and chant the name of the Lord. Devotees have a highly colourful ceremony to mark the wedding celebrations.
Method of Celebration:
Method: Wash and drain Sabudana and keep it aside.When it gets soft, add to boiling milk.Boil milk till it thickens.After the milk has become dense, dissolve the sugar in water and add to the milk.Cook on medium heat stirring continuously, till thick.Add the cashew nuts and other raisins.Refrigerate and serve after half an hour.
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Culture of festivities:
In some parts of India, especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, public gatherings called satsangs are organised to commemorate the birth of Rama. The pilgrims flock the temples of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, where Rama was born and Pondicherry to participate in Ramnavami festivities. Excerpts from the Ramacharitamanas are recited on the occasion. Rama Leela (the play depicting the major life events of Rama) are organized in different parts of the country. The highlights of the festival are these Ram Leela and colorful processions with brilliant floats of Rama, His consort Sita, brother Lakshmana and the great devotee and monkey-general Hanuman, which are taken out in the streets of different states. People visit sacred places associated with Lord Ram during this holy time. Places like Ayodhya, Ujjain and Rameshwaram, attracts thousands of devotees across the country.
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