Navatri, the Indian festival
The Indian festival of Navratri has begun. What does Navratri or Navarathri mean?
Navarathri means 9 consecutive nights. Not only the night but the day time is also very special in these days.It is a festival specially attributed to Women. The Women following Hindu religion celebrates Navaratri days in a very special way across the Globe. This was one of the favorite festivals for the kids years ago! you might wonder why I say ‘was’. I will come to that in a minute!
Navratri -Goddesses are celebrated than Gods
As I said, these days are for worship of the 3 Goddesses in Hindu religion: Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. First 3 days are attributed to Durga, then next 3 days for Lakshmi and the final 3 days for Saraswati. How these Goddesses are worshipped in these days? Well, there is a great traditional way of celebration.
Men and Women clean their house prior and then arrange the mini version of the idols of the Gods and humans in a shelf arranged in the format of a stair case. The lower most shelf contains the animals, birds, the next one contains humans and the remaining ones contain the Gods and Goddesses worshiped. All gods and goddesses idols adorn the shelf and the shelf length depends on the amount of idols every family has.
Some host 9 steps, some host 7, 5 and so on. The minimum is 3 steps. This shelf remains for 10 days and is placed in the centre of the house or the reception area. A similar set up is done at the temples across the country. This is called ‘golu’ meaning a collection of idols organized in a stand. Ours at home this year:
How to Worship
Every day, the lady of the house chants verses and uses flowers and makes pooja to the idols placed. A special boiled dal/lentils snack is prepared and offered to the Gods every day in the evening time. Not only that, it’s also a festival for women. Young girl children are celebrated as the young Durga goddess during Navrathri.
Families invite little girl kids at home, present little gifts and offer a feast. Women invite other neighbor women to their house and offer the snacks prepared along with little gifts. There is a final day for the celebration as the 10th day. The tenth day is celebrated as VijayDasami. It is said that Goddess Durga killed a monster ‘Mahisha’ on the 9th day and hence the 10th day is celebrated as ‘Vijaya Dasami’ meaning the successful 10th day. Some parts of the country also celebrate Navrathri in the name of ‘Dussera’.
Most of the schools offer holidays during Navratri. It was an enjoyable time for the kids of all ages, back then. As everyday kids as a group visit the houses of neighbors, enjoy the delicacies made by the families. Some parents dress their kids with different costumes like that of Gods and Goddesses and it was used to be fun. Yes, it ‘was’ a fun event when there was no technology advancement: like Mobile phones and the internet and lighter education syllabus. (I was one of the lucky individuals to have born in those days and totally enjoyed my Dussera holidays and snacks as a child :))
Today, children are distracted with the use of mobile phones and internet unfortunately. The parents who celebrate Navarathri in the same manner are also getting lesser day by day. Other than the temples the families doing the Navratri celebration by adorning the idols like mentioned above are getting lesser in count slowly. I wish it gets changed soon.
There are many more specialties to Navratri: Observing fast, keeping one self in a well presented manner, speaking the truth, praising the Gods with chants, songs and music all the 9 days are also must in Navratri. A woman who follows the above is said to receive the blessings of Goddess Durga and live a prosperous life.
How does the Festival of Navratri sound to you? Do you follow any similar festival/holidays in your place? Let me know in comments 🙂