Common, also, is animal sacrifice, which occurs in many parts of India during the Navaratri celebration, mostly at temples of the goddesses. Certain regions offer a buffalo or goat as sacrifice to their family goddess during the celebration in a ritual, directed by a Brahmin priest, in which the animal must be killed in a single stroke.

Beginning a new venture on the last day of the festival is said to be a blessed endeavor, and so it is a time of new beginnings, especially for children, who often begin kindergarten from that day onward. The essence of the festival, though, is victory—victory over evil, over bad luck, and over oppression. It represents a casting aside of all that holds an individual back, and an embracing of the personal power to move forward in life.

This is why Navaratri is celebrated with such intense enthusiasm in every state of India, and why people come from all over to observe one of the largest festivals in the world.

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