Gracefully swinging to the rhythms of Garba and Dandiya Raas exalts you with joy and happiness. Popular music, creative lightings and artistically disposed Goddess Durga lifts the mood of merriment to its highest score. Excitement of making fine and unique arrangement of Golu with depictions of mythology or popular scenarios set the mood of festivity in every household.
All these events are unique to the much awaited Navratri or Navaratri celebration. Navratri marks the celebration of divine presence of Goddess power or Devi shakti (as known in Hinduism) rejoiced and cherished through nine nights and ten days. In 2014, the celebration begins on September 25th to continue till October 3rd. Observed across India with lot of devotion, unique traditional practices by different regions make this celebration colorful and exciting.
Welcoming Devi Shakti:
Popularly, Goddess Durga is worshipped on the first three days, Goddess Lakshmi on the next three days and Saraswati on the last three days. In many regions, Durga is worshipped in nine different forms, known as Nava-Durga. As the nine days are dedicated to the worship of different forms of Mother Goddess, other forms of Goddesses such as Annapurna, Jagdamba, Bhavani, Moogambika and so on are also worshipped during these days by different households. The colorful celebration ends on the tenth day with Devi Shakti claiming victory over evils, known as the Vijaya Dashami.
Navratri spectacles across India:
On the day of Vijaya Dashami, Mahisasura mardini slayed the demon Mahisasura, and many places in India, specially is Eastern India grand four-day long Durga puja festival is organised. In West Bengal, Goddess Durga is worshipped with so much of adoration and pompous celebration that the state turns into an abode of joy. This day is also the day of Dusshera when effigies of Ravana are burnt in Delhi to commemorate Rama’s killing of Ravana. In Delhi, Ramlila or different tales of Rama’s life are enacted in forms of drama and play in open grounds during the days of Navratri that concludes with the Dussehra. In Mysore, Dussehra is celebrated through the days of Navaratri, when Goddess Chamundeswari is worshipped for slaying demon Mahisasura. People bearing torch light and elephants richly decorated parading through the streets make the celebration grand and colorful. In western India, devotees fast for a stretch of eight days and break their fast on the same day with elaborate preparation of dishes. Young girls are invited and pampered with good food and gifts. They are believed to be representatives of the Goddesses. Rajasthan and Gujarat come alive with buoyant spirit of Garba and Dandiya Raas, the traditional dance forms. In Garba, women participate with colorful traditional dress. In Dandiya, men partner with women and dance clicking the wooden sticks that they hold in their hands, to the beat of music. Dance festivals are organized for thousands to participate and enjoy.
In southern India, doll exhibitions are arranged, adorned with colorful lights and decorations in the house. It is called the Golu or Bommai kolu that usher in a mood of festivity. Both adults and children get involved buying newly painted dolls, deciding on the theme of decoration, buying gifts for guests and so on. The display of dolls usually represents tales of Gods and Goddesses from mythology. Traditional food items are prepared and offered to Gods which are distributed among guests who visit the household on those days. Gifts items are specially prepared to delight them. Getting together in a household to sing in praise of the Divine is considered a blessed opportunity. Navratri is a major celebration for Hindus marking the auspicious time of the year when Devi Shakti becomes intense and powerful. It signifies glorification of creative energies on earth, announces victory of the good over evil and welcomes energies that would bring prosperity and wisdom to earth.