aapadhaamapa harthaaram dhaataaram sarva sampadaam!
lokaabhiraamam shree raamam bhooyo bhooyo namamyaham!!
Shri ramanavami is the 9th day (navami) starting the new year (samvathsara) – usually around March or April. Virodhi nama samvathsara (name of this calendar year) started on March 27th 2009(Ugadi) – chaitra month according to hindu calendar
Ramanavami timeframe during my school days:
My experience around this from my school days have been, either Ramanavami occurs during or after our academic exams, mostly after academic exams. So that means, we were on holidays or a summer break. There was also something call the academic results. At times, this was before the results and at times after the results. So, depending on how we would have faired well in the exams, kids’ participation in such festivities would be either more or reserved. However, the day would have been fun filled. We often go to neighbors our neighbors would come home during the day time. Most often the eatables would be served, and certainly we would forget about our lunch that day. The very common items prepared on this day are kosambari (salad made of moong dal, cucumber, chillies, ginger, coriander, etc), paanaka (made of one of the fruits like cantaloupe, or Lemons, with water and sugar/jaggery), neeru majjige (basically diluted yogurt / butter milk, with salt, curry leaves, ginger added to it).
Even today, in Bangalore and other locations, you would find small stalls around the neighborhoods offering kosambari, panaka through out the day.
One reason cited for having offered these, was to celebrate shri Rama’s birthday, and this being mid summer day, drinking panaka,butter milk would cool down the body), in a way drink more fluids and keep the body hydrated.
in our household, we had two birthdays around this time. mine and my uncles (mom’s brother). He was very close to us, as kids, we would be waiting for his arrival around this time so we would play around with him. My birthday cheers was also to some extent dependent on the outcome of my academics. *grin*
While chanting Vishnu Sahasranama (1000 names of lord vishnu), there is a stance calling lord shri rama
Shri raama raama raamethi rame raame manorame
sahasra naama thaththulyam raama naama varaanane
what this means, yes, just by chanting the name of lord raama, is equivalent to chanting all 1000 names – description here
One of my favorites poems by shri Purandara dasa is the song “Rama mantrava japiso” – see lyrics here
jai shri Ram