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6:19 PM

Happy Navaratri

Posted by Hariharan Naidu

In northern India, devotees break their fast every evening with specially prepared food, devoid of spices. Whole communities gather every evening to watch Ramlila, the enactment of the Ramayana. On Dussehra, the tenth day, huge effigies of Ravana and his brothers are set up. When Ram’s flame-tipped arrow pierces the demon, setting him ablaze, the crowds go berserk with joy, even as fireworks light up the night sky.

In West Bengal, this is “Pujo” time; the entire population gets down to the serious business of celebrating these ten days. Much of the festive atmosphere comes from the public celebrations. Huge, exquisite papier-mâché idols of Ma Durga are erected in various parts of cities and towns. Every evening, families and friends gather to pray, eat and socialize and engage in cultural activities. On Vijayadashami, the last day, the idols are borne in a triumphal procession to be submerged into a river.

In western India, particularly Gujarat, Navratri is linked both with fertility and agricultural rites. Community dances are a fascinating aspect of the celebration. Men perform the wonderfully energetic dandiya-raas to the beat of the dholak. Women perform the garba. Holding painted sticks in their hands, the dancers move around in circles, creating complex patterns, with their full, glittering skirts swirling around in a kaleidoscope of hues.

In southern homes, Navratri is a more private celebration. Many families set up a traditional ‘kolu’ or display of handcrafted dolls. A typical kolu would have scenes from Indian village life or the life stories of saints. Floors are beautifully decorated with colorful rangoli patterns. After evening prayers, women and girls dressed in their traditional best, visit each other’s homes. This is very much a Ladies’ Day Out for nine continuous days!


Anoj said...

thx bro...
wish u the Same...

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