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Five Strange Navratri Rituals We Bet You Didn’t Know About

September 23, 2022 | Total Views : 607
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It’s time to welcome Navratri 2022. The 9-day festival honoring the Divine Mother begins on Sept 26. Hindus in different states celebrate the nine days of Navratri in different ways due to their diverse customs and traditions. During Navaratri, Hindus worship 9 forms of the Supreme Goddess, who took birth to destroy evil and restore order in the Universe. The Navratri festival has four versions which take place during different seasons. The four Navratris are Magha Navratri, Vasant/Chaitra Navratri, Ashada Navratri, and Sharad Navratri. Among these, Chaitra and Sharad Navratris are grandly celebrated and are more popular. Sharad Navratri occurs during the autumn season, in September or October.

Each Navratri festival comes with its own rituals and customs, which differ from region to region as well. One can also find a few strange rituals which are part of the Navratri celebrations. Let us take a look at some of them.

Animal Sacrifice in Rajasthan 

Durga is a bloodthirsty Goddess, and in earlier days, people would offer blood sacrifices to her. But nowadays, most people tend to avoid this custom. However, in the desert state of Rajasthan, Rajputs sacrifice a goat or buffalo to their family Goddess during Navratri. Devotees in Assam and West Bengal also sacrifice goats, chickens, and buffalos at temples.

Worshipping Weapons

Astra or Ayudha Pooja is one of the important Navratri rituals. It is the ritual worship of weapons and tools and is the custom in South India. Ayudha Pooja is on the 9th day of Navratri. Initially, it involved only the weapons used in war, but today, even things like the plow, typewriter, etc., are worshipped. People also worship books, pens, stethoscopes, and vehicles, as the Pooja honors one’s occupation. Without divine grace, we cannot do our work well.

On this day, people clean their weapons, tools, and instruments thoroughly and keep them in front of the Goddess, and do Pooja. Ayudha Pooja also celebrates her triumph over Mahisha with the weapons given to her by all the gods. Devotees apply a mixture of chandan (sandalwood paste) and turmeric on the tools and vehicles. They also adorn them with flowers.

Sowing Barley

Hindu scriptures say that barley was the first crop after Creation began. Hence, during Goddess worship, it is a custom to offer barley in the havan. The belief is that the barley that devotees grow during Navratri indicates things related to the future. Barley represents Brahma, so people revere it.

Sowing barley is also an omen. Barley is a symbol of growth, prosperity, and abundance. If the sown barley sprouts do not grow in two or three days, it is not a good sign. One will have to do hard work to get the fruits. The length and quality of the barley shoots supposedly indicate the family’s wealth and prosperity in the coming year.

The 9-Day Color Code

Each of the 9 days of the festival is associated with a particular color. Devotees wear festival attire in that color on each day. Here is the color code for Navratri 2022:

Day 1(Sept 26): White

Day 2 (Sept 27): Red

Day 3 (Sept 28): Royal Blue

Day 4 (Sept 29): Yellow

Day 5 (Sept 30): Green

Day 6 (Oct 1): Grey

Day 7 (Oct 2): Orange

Day 8 (Oct 3): Peacock green

Day 9 (Oct 4): Pink

Golu Pandigai

Golu Pandigai (Doll Festival) is part of Navratri celebrations in Tamil Nadu and Telugu-speaking regions. It is called Bommai Golu (Tamil) and Bommala Koluvu (Telugu). People display various dolls and figurines of deities, saints, mythological figures, human beings, animals, etc. It is similar to Hinamatsuri, Japan’s doll festival. Parents of newly-married women in Tamil Nadu gift them Marapacchi Bommai or wooden figurines of a man and woman to celebrate Golu at her husband’s place. The dolls are symbols of fertility and prosperity. People use wooden steps or steel stands to display the dolls. Women also invite friends, neighbors, and relatives to see the Golu. People keep Golu to invite the gods into the home.

Navratri in Other Regions of India

People in different parts of India celebrate Navratri in their own ways. In north India, people observe Navratri fast/vrat on all 9 days.

In Gujarat and Maharashtra, people dance the Garba and Dandiya Raas. The festival goes by the name of Durga Pooja in West Bengal.

In Mysore, it is called Dasara. It is celebrated very grandly for 10 days, and it concludes with Vijayadashami. The entire city is decorated beautifully. Music, dance, cultural activities, a grand procession of elephants called Jumbo savari, and a torch-light parade are part of the festivities, which the Wadiyar king started in 1610. The Mysore Palace is beautifully illuminated with 100,000 light bulbs. Mysore’s old name was ‘Mahishur.’ The story goes that Goddess Chamundeshwari of Chamundi Hill killed Mahishasura here.

The royal couple (Wadiyar) performs a special Pooja to Goddess Chamundeshwari in the Chamundi Temple. This flags off the celebrations. Following this is a royal assembly in the Mysore palace. The royal family members and special guests, as well as other people, take part in it. This tradition has been continued for generations.

States like UP and Bihar celebrate Navaratri by staging Ramleela. This is a dramatic enactment of Lord Rama’s life. Devotees perform it in theatres, temples, and even temporary stages. On the 10th day, effigies of the demon Ravana and his brothers Kumbhakarna and Meghanada are burnt. This symbolizes the destruction of evil. It is followed by a spectacular display of fireworks.

In Andhra Pradesh, women invoke Gauri, the benign goddess, for conjugal bliss, by celebrating the Bathukamma festival. Unmarried girls take part in communal worship to get a good spouse. Bathukamm means ‘Mother Goddess, Come Alive!’ Women make flower stacks using local flowers for the worship of the Mother. On the concluding day, they immerse the stack in a lake or a river.

Why is Navratri Celebrated?

Navratri celebrates an epic battle. The fighters were Goddess Durga and Mahishasura. Mahishasura had been given the boon of immortality by Lord Brahma, and a woman alone could kill him. He began to unleash terror on the denizens of all the 3 worlds.

To defeat him, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva created Goddess Durga by merging their powers. Durga fought him for many days, but the demon kept changing his form to confuse her. Finally, she killed him with her trident on the day of Mahalaya.

The nine forms of Durga who are worshipped during the 9 Navratri days are Goddess Shailaputri (Day 1), Goddess Brahmacharini (Day 2), Goddess Chandraghanta (Day 3), Goddess Kushmanda (Day 4), Goddess Skandamata (Day 5), Goddess Katyayani (Day 6), Goddess Kaalratri (Day 7), Goddess Mahagauri (Day 8) and Goddess Siddhidatri (Day 9).

Navratri 2022 Date: September 26 – October 4.


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