Navratri 2023: Do You Know Why Barley Seeds Or "Jau," Are Sown?

The nine-day festival popularly known as Navratri is one of the festivals celebrated with great pomp and fervour across India. During these nine days, devotees worship the nine incarnations of the goddess Durga. Goddess Durga represents the divine feminine and is considered the embodiment of power, energy, and creativity. The festival marks the victory of Durga over the demon king Mahishasura, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. The 10th day is celebrated as Vijayadashami or popularly known as Dussehra.

There are several popular rituals revolving around Navratri. While some observe fast, some follow a satvik diet. One of the most popular rituals in many parts of North India is sowing barley seeds or “jau” in an earthen pot on the first day of Navratri. The little saplings that grow through the nine days are worshipped on Ashtami or Navami and then immersed in a water body. Sowing of barley seeds is a common practice during Navratri, and it is seen as a way to harness seasonal rains for agricultural purposes.

Significance Of Sowing Barley Seeds Or “Jau” During Navratri

Sowing barley seeds during Navratri is a traditional agricultural ritual in some parts of India, particularly in the northern regions like Haryana and Punjab. If some experts are to be believed, barley or “jau” is considered a symbol of growth, prosperity, and good fortune. Sowing barley seeds during Navratri is believed to invoke the blessings of the goddess Durga for a bountiful harvest and an abundant year ahead. Devotees take an earthen pot and fill it with sand or soil. Then, they sow barley seeds in it and water them with a minimal amount of water. 

It is believed that Navratri usually occurs during the transition from the monsoon season to the post-monsoon period in India, sowing barley seeds or “jau” or “khetri” is a practical way to utilize the seasonal rains for agricultural purposes, ensuring a successful crop. Some believe that barley seeds symbolize fertility and Mother Earth. As per mythological tales, the practice of planting barley seeds is associated with the creation and growth of the universe. The pot with barley seeds is considered to be a symbol of Mother Earth while the seeds depict the life cycle i.e., birth, growth, and death.

Nutritional Value Of Barley

Barley seeds are highly nutritious and can do wonders for health. Barley is a carbohydrate-rich food and is also a good source of dietary fiber. Best part? Barley has a low fat content and can provide several vitamins. It is also rich in minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium. Besides, barley or “jau” is rich in antioxidants and has a relatively low glycemic index too.