Navratri, the festival of nine colors brings you blessings of the nine avatars of Goddess Durga. This nine-day festival is celebrated in various ways around the globe. However, the foundation of Navratri remains the same – the victory of good over evil and honoring Goddess Durga.
When it comes to celebrating Navratri, the diversity of India shines through.
Navratri is celebrated in various ways in different states. Read on, to know about them:
For Bengalis and other Eastern parts of India, the focus of Navratri is Durga Puja. The Puja takes place on the last four days – Saptami, Ashthami, Navami and Dashami – in the grandest manner. The whole state of Bengal is filled with colorful pandals and idols of Maa Durga. Bengalis celebrate Durgotsav with pomp and their go-to sweet Rosogolla, bite-sized balls of cottage cheese flavored with cardamom and soaked in a sugary syrup. Trust them to make the best Indian desserts!
Gujarat and Garba go hand in hand, physically and metaphorically. Playing Dandiya is just one of the many exciting ways Gujaratis celebrate Navratri. They use garbi – an earthen pot with diyas – to perform evening aartis. Not a day goes by when the state doesn’t shine bright during Navratri – loud garba music, men and women in traditional attire and having the time of their lives.
Out of all the states, Tamil Nadu has its own unique way of celebrating. They celebrate it with a ritual called Golu – a display of dolls on a staircase. This ritual also includes giving gifts to women and children. Married women are given bangles and bindis as gifts. People in Tamil Nadu worship Goddesses Durga, Saraswati and Laxmi and dedicate three days to each of them. The ritual dolls have their own significance – they are passed down from generation to generation and are set up like mini-museums in the house.
Punjabis honor all the reincarnated forms of Goddess Durga during Navratri. To break fasts on Ashtami or Navami, they invite nine young girls, representing the nine avatars of Maa Shakti and serve them food, sweets, and pamper them with money and gifts. The most popular sweet is Punjabi Poora, made with flour, fried in refined oil and flavored with fennel seeds. During the nine holy nights, jagrans (a ritual of performing songs and dance all night) are performed in houses and temples.
Unlike other states, in Andhra Pradesh, all nine days of Navratri are dedicated to the Goddess representing womanhood, Maha Gauri. For her worship, women create flower stacks in the traditional style using local flowers. On the final day of Navratri, the stack is immersed in a lake or a river.
Have you heard of Nadahabba? It is a 10-day festival, starting with Navratri with the last day being Vijayadashami. The celebrations include people marching big decorated elephants on the streets. The tradition with the bejeweled elephants is called Jumboo Safari and takes place on the streets of Mysore. Places all over the state hold exhibitions and fairs to honor the Goddess. A very famous sweet in Karnataka, especially during this festival, is the delicious Puran Poli.
Love it? Miss it? Don’t worry. You may be out of India but India will never go out of you.
So, this Navratri, dress up, dance and have fun. Feel like you’re in India by cooking delicious Indian food from 100% organic and natural products.
How do you plan to celebrate Navratri? Tell us in the comments below!