With the Navratris just over and Dussehra being celebrated, let us take a revision about the types of Navratri all across India in various states and regions of the country. Navratri is an auspicious time in India and the nation has diverse cultures that are why each region has its own way of celebrating these days. In this article we will discuss how these days are celebrated across the country. Traditions are important they give us an identity and definitely a reason to celebrate. These traditions have been passed from one generation to the other and we can only hope that these traditions will continue to be followed in the years to come.
Durga: The Shakti
Durga is the mother goddess in Hinduism. She is the mother of all and life begins from her. She is the most powerful goddess and can do anything for the devotees who come to her for protection. She is fierce and is filled with anger at the sight of evil or the demons. Durga has many names like Chandika, Gauri, Parvati, Amba, Bhavani and so on. Each name symbolises each aspect of the goddess. She rides the lion to show how powerful she actually is and has the strength to destroy all the evil that we see on earth. All Hindus across the world ensure that they do something during these ten days to worship and thank the goddess Durga for protecting them from the evil.
In the North part of India these days are called Navratri and the devotees ensure that they fast during these days and eat only fruits. They do mata ki chowki. They worship the goddess and during the night they sing for the goddess to please her and get her blessings.
On the tenth day the idol of Ravan is burnt. Plays showing the story of Ram are performed these plays are called Ramlila. The tenth day is the day of celebration as on this day Lord Rama defeated Ravan with the blessing of goddess Durga. This day signifies the victory of the good over the evil. The celebration is huge in Varanasi and Ayodhya (the birth place of Lord Rama)
In the western part of the country fasting is followed. Along with fasting the Guajarati community performs garbha. Garbha is a very popular dance form in this part of the country. Garbha mean the womb in Sanskrit. This dance is a way to thank the mother goddess for life on earth and for protecting her children. All through the night the devotees dance around the idol of goddess Durga and sing songs to praise her and ask for her blessing. They also use sticks for dancing and these sticks are called dandiya.
People of all age participate in this dance. You can see children to very old people dancing to the tunes. No one is supposed to wear shoes as they dance because they are doing this for the mother goddess. They ensure that they dress up well for the festivities in traditional clothes. It is a delight to the eye to see people performing to the music all through the night.
On the tenth day night that is Dusshera it is holiday for all. On this day delicacies are prepared at home and are shared with all.
In South India the celebration of Navratri can been seen. Especially in the city of Mysore. In Mysore these days are celebrated with a lot of show. Parades are arranged with elephants and live music. The king of Mysore greets the public on the tenth day. The king along with the family members becomes a part of this parade and this tradition has been followed for more than a hundred years.
In the olden days the expense of this procession was paid by the royal family itself. After independence the royal families lost their position and now the government of Karnataka funds these to ensure that this can bring in more tourists into the city during these days. The city is decorated with lots of lights. People from different parts of the country visit Mysore on these days to be a part of this celebration.
In south especially Tamil Nadu Gollu decoration is done in almost every house. This is again a very old tradition. The women of the house decorate dolls and place them at one part of the house. Rangolis are made around these decorations. Traditionally only idols of gods were used for this decoration but nowadays even different toys are used. The decoration is made grand by putting lights and using other ways to do the decoration. People visit each other’s house and haldi kumkum is given to the married ladies who are visiting the house.
These dolls are worshipped during these days and the ceremony is called Gollu puja. After the ten days are over the dolls are packed and kept only to be taken out next year. The ladies like to show off how creatively they have put the Gollu. It is a good occasion and brings positive vibes to the house.
Let’s now talk about the Eastern part of the country mainly the Bengal region. Here the last five days of Navratri is celebrated as the Durga Puja. This happens to be the most significant festival in this part of the country. People dress in new clothes and they buy gifts for each other on this day.
Food is the biggest obsession of Bengalis and during these days you can taste the best food of this region including the sweets. In this part of the country people do fast till they offer prayers to the goddess. The prayers are offered on the daily basis and are called anjoli. Once the prayers are done people indulge in eating.
Huge pandals (temporary decorative structures) are built for keeping the idols of goddess Durga. Bhog is prepared and is distributed to all those who are visiting the pandals. After Dashami the idols are immersed in the river Ganga. Goddess Durga is given a grand farewell and she is requested to visit again next year.
After the immersion the celebration does not stop. After the immersion it is vijaya dashami. During vijaya dashami the Bengalis visit each other’s house with sweets and hug each other wishing subho Bijoya to all. Delicacies are prepared to treat the friends and families.
In short the whole country celebrates these ten days with their mother Durga. No matter which part of the country you are you will definitely witness these celebrations. Most of the modern Indian cities have become very cosmopolitan as a result you will notice that people coming from the different parts of the country are getting their culture and traditions. In cities like Bangalore and Mumbai you can witness Durga Puja.
Garbha nights, Gollu decorations, Ram Leela as well as Mata ki chowki. Similarly many Indians who have gone to the different parts of the world have also taken with them these traditions. It is a good time to visit India as you can be a part of these crazy celebrations and enjoy the spirit of Navratri. Most of the shops and stores are on sale during this time because it is an old tradition to buy new things for the house and also buy jewelleries.
People throw old things and do a deep cleaning of the houses. Clothes off course are bought and gifted to family during these days. It is a good time for business. Along with that people take leaves they go on a travel or they prefer to eat in restaurants with family and friends. September to October is a festive time in the country and you can feel it in all the aspects of the daily life. We wish a very happy Navratri to the readers and we hope that this Navratri will bring new joy and prosperity to your lives and to the lives of your loved ones.