NY Caribbean Hindus Observe Ram Naumi
Indo-Caribbean Hindus in greater New York and other parts of the US joined Hindus globally in celebrating the birth (appearance of Lord Rama) on Saturday. The celebration of the birth of the Lord (Ram Naumi) commemorated the end of the fasting festival of Navratri, nine nights of worshipping Mother Durga and her two other incarnations (Goddesses Laxmi and Saraswati). Temples in New York observed the finale of Navratri on Friday night while some extended the observance through Saturday night to coincide with Ram Naumi. on Monday with the celebration of Ram Naumi. Temples were packed to capacity in the evening with long lines of devotees making offerings of Prasad, clothing, and other material things.
Lord Rama appeared in the world thousands of years ago. The birth of Rama was a source of joy to everyone in the holy city of Ayodhya. His father, Dasaratha and his mother, Kaushalya, rejoiced. There was also celebration in every home in the city of Ayodha as he was the future king of the kingdom.
Lord Rama is associated with Navratri. During the spring Navratri, Hindus celebrate Ram Naumi (the birth or appearance) of Lord Rama and in the Fall Navratri, Hindus celebrate the destruction of the evil Ravana by Lord Rama, signifying the triumph of good over evil.
Navratri was observed on Saturday at midday which was the time Lord Rama made his appearance on earth. On this auspicious day, devotees repeated the name of Rama with every breath and vow to lead a righteous life. People prayed to attain the final beatitude of life through intense devotion towards Rama and invoked him for his blessings and protection. Since Lord Rama appeared on earth during the day (around noon), the celebration occurred in the morning as well as in the evening to facilitate those who worked in the day. Many Hindus conducted Pooja (raised Jhandi) inviting pandits in their home that day.
Worshippers tend to observe a strict fast on this day. Some take only milk and fruit for day and the preceding nine days as well. Some fast only on the Ramnavami day itself. It is an extremely colorful ceremony with a lot of rituals using varied paraphernalia and burning of incenses and offerings. It is a highly inspiring and instructive to devotees. Temples were decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. Excerpts from the holy 'Ramayana' was read in the temples. Vedic rituals were performed including "havan" or sacred fire ceremony, aartie, singing of bhajans, distribution of Prasad, and serving of bhojan.
The birth of Rama is revered as an embodiment of divinity. This is an occasion of joy and reflection of one’s life and how to live. Everyday should be considered as Ram Naumi.