Aarati is a daily worship service performed to the Supreme Deity in the form of the Deity personified or to a statue, a picture, or other symbol of God. In this prayer ceremony, offerings are made of fire, incense, ghee (clarified butter), camphor, flowers, rice, sandal paste (chandan), vermillion paste (kumkum), water, etc.
In the temple worship, offerings to the statue, assumed to be a living presence of the Deity, are also made of a seat, ceremonial bath, clothing and food.
Fire Ceremony (Havan)
Before the creation of this universe, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (that is Shiva) used to perform yagnas (fire ceremonies) to the Divine Mother. The Divine Mother was pleased by this and gave them each a boon: Brahma was to create the universe, Vishnu was to preserve it and Shiva to destroy it. That is why it is said that the fire-ceremony is like support of the earth.
The fire-ceremony, or yagna, is based on scientific principles. In the fire-ceremony, when you give an offering to a particular deity, it reaches that particular deity in its totality. In the Vedas it is written that the mouth of the gods is fire, ‘Agni.’ To whichever god you are giving the offering, by saying the mantra and adding the name of that god plus the word ‘swaha,’ it makes the offering complete. That is, you reach that particular god.
Celebration of the Divine Mother
Navaratri is a very special time of honouring the Divine Mother. Exact translation of the word “Navaratri” is “9 nights”. Navaratri happens in Spring and in Autumn of every year. It begins on a New Moon. Each of the days honours a certain aspect of Divine Mother and gives a focus to the energy of that day. These are known as the Nava Durga (9 Names of Durga).
Glossary of Sanskrit and other terms.