Mahanavmi is the ninth day of the navratri celebration and the third and final day of Durga Puja. Durga puja on Maha Navami begins with Mahasnan and Shodashopachar Puja. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Durga was incarnated as Devi Chamunda and slayed the Buffalo Demon Mahishasura. This day is celebrated by worshipping Goddess Durga with great devotion. Mahanavmi is celebrated all over India. The rituals and ceremonies associated with Navratri Maha Navmi vary from region to region. In South India, Maha Navami is observd as Ayudha Puja/ Astra Puja. All books, utensils and tools are kept for puja.
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Durga Balidan is another ritual associated with Maha Navami. Animal sacrifice is held on the day. According to the sources, the most appropriate time to perform Balidan on Navami is Aparrahna Kaal. However, in today's hour, where animal rights are given equal importance, this ritual is being discouraged by many people and Government has taken a step to put a stop to such cruelty on the name of religion by banning such an act. But it is still held in rural regions and famous Durga Mata and Kali Mata Temple. Maha navmi marks the end of the navratri celebrations. Many people invite young girls to their home and honour them by washing their feet and feeding them with food, fruits, sweets and little gifts. The next day is the day of Durga Murti Visarjan/immersion. The next day is also known as Dussehra wherein rituals are held to celebrate the win of good over evil by burning idols of Ravana and his demon brothers.
Also known as Astra Puja, Ayudha puja falls on the ninth day of Navratri festival. In simple terms, it means 'worship of implements/utensils'. Ayudha/Astra Puja is celebrated in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala (mostly in the southern region of India). On the ninth day of navratra festival, weapons and tools are worshipped by devotees. There is a slight difference between how this day is celebrated in north India and South India. While Goddess Durga is worshipped in North India, Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Parvati are worshipped in Southern India. Also on this day, weapons are worshipped by soldiers and tools by artisans. All kinds of instruments used in business or daily life are revered and worshipped on this day