Ramnavami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama, the son of king Dashrath. He is known as ‘Maryada Purusottama’ and is the emblem of righteousness. The festival commemorates the birth of Rama on the ninth day after the new moon in Sukul Paksh (the waxing moon), which falls sometime in the month of April.
Lord Rama is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign. He is considered to be an avatar or reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, who came down to earth to battle the invincible Ravana (demon king) in human form. Ramrajya (the reign of Rama) has become synonymous with a period of peace and prosperity.
On the Ramnavami day, devotees crowd the temples and sing devotional bhajans in praise of Rama and rock images of him in cradles to celebrate his birth. There are recitations of Tulsi Ramayan, the epic, which recounts the story of this great king.
Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama is the focus of great celebrations of Ramanavami festival. Rathayatras or the chariot processions of Rama, his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman, are taken out from many temples.
Ramnavami is commemorated in Hindu households by puja (prayer). The items necessary for the puja are roli, aipun, rice, water, flowers, a bell and a conch. After that, the youngest female member of the family applies teeka to all the members of the family. Everyone participates in the puja by first sprinkling the water, roli, and aipun on the Gods, and then showering handfuls of rice on the deities. Then everybody stands up to perform the aarti, at the end of which ganga jal or plain water is sprinkled over the gathering. The singing of bhajans goes on for the entire puja. Finally, the prasad is distributed among all the people who have gathered for worship.