There are 6 Navarathris in Honour of Divine Mother of our Universe - one for each Rithu (season), and this navarathri falling in the sharad rithu is the most important one as it is the one recommended for householders.
Navarathri schedule for different parts of the world.
Navaraathri austerities begin from October 1, 2016 for those living in India and countries to the west of Indian sub-continent (all countries in Middle East, Europe, Africa, and American continents, Bangaladesh and Myanmar). Those living in Malaysia, and countries to the East of Malaysia (including Japan, Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand) must observe this from October 2, 2016.
IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING REPETITION OF THITHIS DURING THIS NAVARATHRI
In India, Bangaladesh, and Nepal, the prathama thithi operates on two consecutive days and hence navarathri will extend for 10 days, until October 10, 2016 - which is when Mahaa Navami is to be observed.
In UAE, the Dwithiyai thithi - the second thithi - operates on two consecutive days, and hence navarathri will extend for 10 days, from 1st October to 10th October 2016.
In USA, Canada, etc. Shashti thithi operates on two consecutive days, hence they also have navarathri for 10 days - till October 10, 2016.
For Malaysia, Singapore, and countries to the east of Malaysia, there is no such repetition, and Navarathri is between October 2nd, and October 10, 2016.
Those living in countries where the thithis are repeated must observe the "thithi related poojas" on the first day of operation of the thithi, and observe the second thithi as a simple celebration. For instance, if you are doing a navaaha paaraayanam of Chandi path, you must recite the portions related to the first day of recital on October 1st...on October 2nd, you may simply do normal poojas, OR just repeat the poojas done on October 1st....the 2nd day's portion of recitals will be done on October 3rd.
Similarly, for those living in UAE, the 2nd day's poojas/ recitals should be done on October 2nd....and October 3rd should either be a "simple pooja day", or you must repeat the 2nd day's portion of recitals on October 3rd also.
Those living in USA, Canada, and countries of Europe must repeat the 6th day's poojas...i.e.October 6th is the prime day of the pooja, and October 7th may either be a "simple pooja day", OR the 6th day's portion of recitals must be repeated on October 7th also.
If you are not doing any special pooja or "9-day scheme of major recitals of works like Devi Mahatmyam/ Devi Bhagavatam/ Sundara Kaandam", then you need not bother about this technical nuance, and just observe the navarathri on the days given as duration of Navarathri for your region.
Durga Pooja should be observed on October 9, 2016 throughout the world.
Mahaa Navami (Saraswathy pooja) is to be observed on October 10, 2016 throughout the world.
Vijaya Dasami should be celebrated on October 11, 2016 throughout the world.
Methods of celebrating Navaraathri.
It is traditional to keep "Kolu" - an arrangement of dolls during Navaraathri. This is to signify that Our Divine Mother resides as Inner Soul in all Forms. Some people make the arrangement in such a way that the various steps of the kolu represent the Order of Evolution - like keeping invertebrates and such other forms of lives in the bottom step, keeping dolls representing human life in the middle of the kolu steps, and keeping dolls representing Divine Legends, Dasa Avataars, etc. on the top most step of the kolu arrangement. It is traditional to keep 5 rows (to represent Five Elements of Life), 9 rows (to represent the Nine Forms of Divine Mother), 11 rows (to represent the 11 forms of Lord Rudra), 13 rows (one in Honour of each chapter of Durga Sapta Sati), or 15 Rows (one in Honour of each syllable of Shri Vidhya panchadasaakshari mantra) as per one's convenience; traditionally, people avoid arranging the kolu in 7 rows for sentimental reasons (there is a belief that such an arrangement in 7 rows might affect financial prospects).
I request all our members to perform simple worships as per their convenience during the Navarathri period and become recipients of Divine Grace. This is a period when we Celebrate our Universal Mother - so, that joy should be there in our minds when we observe this austerity (we should not be unnecessarily tensed or make this too complicated with too many taboos! One does not think of protocols when approaching one's mother - but just go with the moment with unbounded joy and affection; such should be our attitude when we worship Our Universal Mother during this period - assuming we are all Her Children and we are invoking Her Presence in our homes - celebrating this with affectionate respect and joy).
Recital of Lalitha Sahasranaamam, Dasa Mahaa vidhya sthothrams, simple Devi sthothrams, Abhiraami Andhaadhi, Lalitha Anubooti, Soundarya Lahiri, Dugra Sthothram, Chandi Path (Durga Saptasathi), etc. can be auspicious during this period.
During this period, we should consider all women as Forms of Divine Mother and treat them with courtesy and respect. One who observes the Navarathri austerities intensely, but insults women knowingly/ unknowingly does not get the benefit of the austerities. Remember this, and treat women (including those in your own family) with affection and respect [Ideally that should be the case always! Because Shastras say that where virtuous women are honoured, Divine Grace visits even in an uninvited manner! This is the reason why women should take special care to safeguard their basic dignity, be affectionate and gentle in dealings with family members, avoid letting corrupting thoughts/ behaviour patterns enter their life styles, etc. in an attempt to maintain their Divine nature that is intrinsic to them; All higher forms of lives spring from the feminine gender of the species, and a virtuous woman is a living Form of the Universal Mother - and can be a source of happiness and Grace to herself and to everyone who is blessed enough to move with her).
Those who have Tulsi plant in their houses, can offer prostrations to that Divine Plant and pray for prosperity and Divine Grace in its vicinity. (All the Holy Rivers are in subtle forms in the roots of the tulsi plant; All Divine Forms are manifest in the middle portion of the Tulsi plant, and All Vedas and Holy Scriptures are manifest in the tips of the Tulsi plant, as said in the Puranas).
Offering Go-Poojaa (prayers to Cow visualized as embodiment of all Divinities) on Fridays and Tuesdays of Navarathri period can give unlimited merit.
It is also auspicious to read a small portion of Divine Legends that depict how the Gracious and Kind Mother Manifested in Angry Forms to annihilate all enemies to peaceful life on Earth every night during this navaraathri period, and invoke such Manifestation of Power in our lives also to annihilate all our enemies (both intrinsic like anger, greed, laziness, and ignorance within us, and our external enemies/ unruly elements who try to disturb peaceful and gentle citizens in the society unnecessarily).
Recital of Chandi Paaraayanam is a powerful remedy not merely for our families but for ensuring peace in the land where we live in. In fact, if austere persons of Faith keep reciting the Chandi Path and Shri Rudram regularly, and if there are many of them in a land, shastras proclaim that the elements of nature's Fury like floods, pestilence, droughts, etc. will never harm that land and prosperity will rein in that land. So, it is partly our duty as Universal Citizens to offer special worship to Divine Mother during this period and pray for relief to all the distressed souls who have been harassed much by natural calamities in various parts of the world, and also pray for peace throughout the world in these troublesome days where you can never read a newspaper without coming across some inauspicious event/ mishap in one corner or other of the earth.
SPECIAL WORSHIPS AT MY PLACE DURING NAVARATHRI.
As usual special worships will be done in this regard at my residence (Bangalore).
The part-sponsorship of each day's austerities (beginning from early morning till night.....Ganapathy homam, Laghu chandi homam, Full recital of Devi Mahaatmyam, Lalitha Sahasranaamam, Soundarya Lahiri sthothras, Dasa Mahaa Vidhya japams, Select verses from Devi Bhagavatam, etc.) is Rs.5000 (rupees five thousand only) for one day's part-sponsorship. Those who wish to be part-sponsors for more than one day's rituals are also welcome to do so.
Mahaa chandi homam is planned on October 11, 2016 on Vijaya Dasami day. The part-sponsorship for this Mahaa chandi homam on October 11, 2016 is Rs.25000 (rupees twenty five thousand) - all costs inclusive - including cost of gold coin, silver coin, silk saree, rare herbs, and other pooja articles to be offered in the Mahaa Poornaahuti.
Those who wish to participate in these austerities may write to me through my email-id: email@example.com (or firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com) with the subject line "Part-sponsorship of Navarathri homams."
Members of our group who have already availed such services in the past and know my bank account details through which they made remittances earlier may directly make the remittance in favour of that icici account as earlier, and keep me informed through email.
Even those who are unable to offer sponsorships for these rituals need not feel let down; prayers are offered for Universal Welfare at the end of each day's austerities, in addition to the prayer for specific special sponsors, and the prayer for Universal Welfare covers everyone - including you!
May Divine Mother Bless us all.
Pandit R. DAKSHINAMOORTHI