Navratri is one of the most important festivals among Hindus. The worshipping of Goddess Durga to gain her blessings to beat evil forces and prosper in life is celebrated as Navratri, which literally means nine nights. The Navratri festival is celebrated twice a year; once during the onset of spring and another during the onset of the autumn season.
Hindu women keep fasts for nine days and wear clothes of nine different colors while following the Vrat of Navratri. However, men also follow Navratri rituals. Following the Navratri fast means to eat only Satvik meal, just once in a day at one sitting, for nine days.
Like any fasting for religious rituals, Navratri fast also has strict rules on what all food can be consumed and what all should be completely avoided. So, here’s a list of the food items that are a complete no-no if you are keeping the Navratri fast.
Flours & Grains
Wheat and rice are the two grains that are completely barred to be consumed during Navratri fasts. All forms of wheat and rice such as whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour or maida, rice flour, Sooji or Semolina are also not to be taken. Chickpea Flour or Besan, Corn Flour or Corn Starch and Millets like ragi, etc, are also to be completely avoided.
The above can be substituted by tapioca pearls, amaranth, buckwheat, water chestnut, and flours.
Onions and Garlic are strictly prohibited during the Navratri fasting period. Other vegetables to be avoided include eggplants (brinjals) and okra (ladies finger). Some people avoid tomatoes as well, depending on families.
Legumes & Pulses
All sorts of legumes and pulses are not to be consumed during this auspicious period.
Certain Spices & Seasonings
Table Salt or refined white salt (namak) is not to be consumed, and is replaced by natural rock salt (Sendha namak).
Spices like Turmeric, Garam Masala, Curry powder, Coriander powder, Musturd seeds or powder, Asafetida (Hing) are not allowed.
Non-Vegetarian Food Items & Addictives
Needless to say all sorts of non-veg foods including eggs, fish, meat and related items are all strictly prohibited. All sort of addictives like alcohol, tobacco products, and the likes are to be strictly avoided
Some people and communities also avoid all sorts of souring agents including lemon, tamarind, kokum, tomatoes and pomogrenate seeds. However, yogurt is always allowed as all sorts of milk products are considered holy in Hinduism.