- a festival that is celebrated by a large number of Indian communities, both in India and outside.
Navarathri means nine nights in Sanskrit. It represents the celebration of the Hindu goddess, Shakthi, also called Durga.
Shakthi fought with Mahishasura, a demon for nine nights. Demons possessed extraordinary strength during the night.
Shakthi killed the demon on the evening of the tenth day, which is celebrated as
Vijaya Dashami, also called Dusshera.
(Golu at home)
In South India, we have special offerings and prayer to the goddess on all the nine days of the festival.
We have a display of “Golu”.
A golu, as seen above is a step-by-step arrangement and exhibition of dolls – predominantly of Hindu gods and goddesses. There are also figurines depicting marriages, Indian independence, music sets, dance sets , different communities and so on.
The most important of all are a wooden figurine pair called “Marapacchi Bommaigal” .
We also need to make a “Kalasam”. The Kalasam is symbolic of a human who has the faculty to realize the pure consciousness.
I love Navarathri. In my growing up years, my sister and I would wear long skirts and blouses made of silk and invite our neighbours to see the Golu in our house.
Here is a recent Tamil TV commercial that will give you a sense of what happens during this festival.
We would draw a colorful Rangoli / Kolam with rice flour outside our house and in front of the
golu. In the evenings, we would light oil lamps and place them on the Rangoli / Kolam.
The women and children visiting our house would sing songs in Indian classical, Carnatic music.
Everyday, my mother would make different types of sundal, a dry curry made of beans, lentils or chickpeas. The sundal would be served as an offering to the goddess and then, to all the guests who would visit to see the golu.
That's not all. All the female folks would receive a bag of goodies, called “Tamboolam” containing betel leaves, bangles, a blouse piece, a coconut, fruit, sindhoor (red powder) and turmeric.
At the end of the 10-day festival, we would carefully pack the figurines with lots of cloth. We would put them in a box and keep them in an airtight, safe place until the next year.
I hope you liked reading about Navarathri. Do you celebrate festivals? Tell me about your favorite festival of the year.