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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Navarathiri Celebration in Detail

This year Navrathiri starts on the 28 th of Sep,2011.It's a festival celebrated in our country in different ways, but basically it's the worship of the Goddessess, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati  on all 10 days and nine nights. 

It's the celebration of Goddess Durga killing the demon Mahishasura and the Vijaya Dasami is for Lord Ram killing Ravan. 

The first three days are dedicated to Goddess Durga for strength [energy and power ]  valor,the next three days to Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity and wealth,Goddess Saraswati  for art and knowledge.
In West Bengal it's great festival and Pandals are erected and Kali pooja  /Durga pooja is done with much fun and fervor and with strict religious sentiments.

In Gujarat ,  Gujaratis celebrate with Raas and Garba , a dance ritual with the Mataji in the centre.

In South India, people set up steps to display dolls . This is known as golu.The significance of the Golu is that each house displays dolls with the feeling that they would get life and help Goddess Durga in putting an end  to Mahishasura's evil acts.

Apart from displaying of dolls especially the wooden one called 'marapaachi bommais'  along with a' kalash '.Some make ponds,  create zoo with animals, temple on hill top , some have themes for display. It's a fun to see people visiting houses to judge for themselves the creativity of the display of dolls. Some TV channels in south even conduct competitions for the same.
The ladies and the young girls of the neighbourhood visit each house and get the blessing of the Trinity Goddessess. Mostly in the evenings and they are given betel leaves with betel or areca nut,haldi and kumkum along with the traditional sundal in zip lock pouches. [ a sprouted and cooked form of pulses and grains ]

It has become a practice to gift  items made of plastic, steal ,copper, brass, white metal ,glass and mobile stand, Sloka books, cassettes, anklets, toe rings, bangles, hair clips, bindi stickers, ribbons etc .One can give pooja items, micro wave containers, tupper ware items, small plastic dabbas,  bangle, earring, necklace pouches, blouse covers in cotton,,saree covers in cotton ,photo frames, photo albums, even CD  boxes or pouches as gifts. Giving blouse pieces has become out of date as one keeps rotating it, still some do give as it's a tradition.

In Madurai, one can get anklets made out of white metal and toe rings for Rs. 25 and 10/ in the Puthu mandabam area for distribution.

The last three days are devoted to Goddess Saraswati. On Saraswati Pooja day Ayudha pooja is also celebrated .

[These four  photos are from my niece Srividya's s last year's Navrathiri Golu  celebration .]

People have a belief that on this day since Arjun in Mahabharata took out his weapons  from the 'vanni 'tree to face the Kauravas in the war and sought victory ,the weapons, musical instruments, agricultural implements, all kinds of tools,  pens, pencils, knives scissors, equipments, machinery and automobiles are decorated and worshipped on this day along with the worship of Goddess.This day some do not even read News Papers nor use pen, pencils.

On the tenth day of Navrathiri , Vijaya Dasami is Celebrated. On this day irrespective of  whether it falls on a Saturday, Tuesday or marana yog, any new venture,'staphan' pooja for New factory, industry or any new venture is undertaken. Especially for kids to get admitted in schools, or join  any cultural classes .

The work starts afresh from the next day, i.e. the 10th day which is celebrated as 'Vijaya Dasami'. Many teachers/Schools in south India start teaching arts and crafts to children from that day onwards. 

In North  Ramlila which is enacted ceremoniously during Dussehra, the effigies of Ravana,is  burnt to celebrate the victory of good (Rama) over evil forces on the 'Vijaya Dasami' day.
[This is from my elder cousin -sis- in - law, Padma manni.]

Before the navrathiri starts, the cleaning of the house should be done and no cleaning, clearing and moving things should be done during the nine day festival, it's like Devi aavahanam so no movements of things in the house, it's considered as obstacles and bad omen.

One is not supposed to give off old things, clothes etc to others. New things  can be given to others.

Offering some edible things to Goddess is essential. It can be fruits, sweets, savories, or any cooked dishes.

Sundals can be made from groundnuts, Kabuli chana, chana dal, moong dal, cow peas. [karaamani ]To be on the safer side soak the pulses and keep them in the fridge to use in the last minute. [karaamani ]These can made with mirch powder or with coconut and red chilly combination. Simple roasted  besan with powdered sugar and elaichi powder would do.

To know more about Golu in Tamizh, visit

1 comment:

  1. Mahishan-demon was killed by Mahasakthi, as the demon got the boon from Brahma that he was not to be killed by anybody, leaving woman, as he thought Woman-Sakthi can not do the samhara of the demon; when all Devas pray to Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva, they together create a Bala - Sakthi in bala prayam and give her all their weapons; it is the belief that Bala does the menance on the tip of the needle nine days to gather all her sakthi and then Mahishan was killed; Devi becomes Mahishasura Mardhini. Ninethday of navarathri is doing pooja to all weapons and the tenth day Goddess kills the demon-thus Vijaya (victory) dasami; hence during the nine day poojas no stitching with needle; no cleaning of house; no hair/nail cutting; Devi is worshipped in many forms; bala, sambhavi, kadambari, suluni, mathangi, kanya, rudra, varahi, thirupurusundari and hence 'kanya'girls are given more importance during navarathri; Shiva got one rathri-Shivarathri, whereas, Sakthi got nava rathri; Bhavam can be in any format but the palan-benefits will be in many folds. Chanting Lalitha Sahasranamam, Soundarya Lahari, Devi Bagavatham, Abhirami Andathi, Shymala Dhandagam, Kanakathara Sthothram, etc., during these nine days will be an added ritual. We may perform collective Devi parayanam in each one's house for all the nine days by 12 women (minimum)makes 108 times reciting the Devi parayanam; On Dasami day Guru worship is also important; those who learn music, dance, etc., can take the blessings of the Guru(teacher) by giving dakshinai and guru sambavanai. Matha, Pitha, Guru and then Deivam. Married women may perform these poojas by wearing traditional madisar-9 yards, which will give more satisfaction. Devi smaranai in all 9 days, planning for keeping golu, calling all friends, neighbours, relatives and giving them the same type of receiption (means vettalai, pakku, coconur, manjal, blouse bit, bangles, mehendi, all same type for everybody)with nine different varieties of sundal/chitrannam/payasam etc.,would definitely enhance the harmony, happiness and lakshmi kadaksham to each and every family. When visitors come home, we should request them to sing in praise of sakthi; nadha ubacharam is also very significant in Devi's pooja. I too join with Mathangi Manni to wish you all a happy Dasera and to get the blessings of Goddess Sakthi Tahnks Manni for highlighting my Golu, which was always a family festival (my husband and son takes very active part every year; our planning starts six months before only including the theme and gifts to be given every year). Hemalatha Vishwanathan, Hyderabad