Friday, 12 October 2007

Navratras



'Nav' means 'nine' and 'ratri' means 'night', thus, 'Navratri' means 'nine nights'. There are many legends attached to the conception of Navratri like all Indian festivals but all of them are related to Goddess Shakti (Hindu Mother Goddess) and her various forms. Though it is one of the most celebrated festivals of Hindu calendar, it holds special significance for Gujratis and Bengalis and one can see it in the zeal and fervor of the people with which they indulge in the festive activities of the season. The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga (Warrior Goddess) dressed in red and mounted on a lion, next three to Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity) dressed in gold and mounted on an owl and finally, last three to Goddess Saraswati (Goddess Of Knowledge) dressed in milky white and mounted on a pure white swan.Dandiya and Garba Rass are the highlights of the festival in Gujarat while farmer sow seeds and thank the Goddess for her blessings and pray for better yield. In olden times, this festival was associated with the fertility of Mother Earth. Sweetmeats are prepared for the celebrations and children and adults dress up in new bright-colored dresses for the night performances. With commercialization, the festival has moved on to be a social festival rather than a religious or agrarian festival. In some communities people undergo rigorous fasts during this season that lasts for the nine days of the festival, only to be opened on the tenth day of Dussehra. However, nothing dampens the spirit of the devout followers of Mother Goddess as they sing devotional songs and indulge in the gaieties of the season. This year celebrate Navratra from Oct 12 to 20, 2007.

9 Fertilize my soul:

Kate said...

I have heard the name Lakshmi before - the name of a famous radio journalist here in the US.

So, I have a cultural question. In Christian tradition, it's popular to name children after beloved figures from the Bible. In the Hidu tradition, would families name their daughters Durga, Lakshmi or Saraswati? Or would that be considered disrespectful?

Amrita said...

hi Kate, people of various religions use faith names to name their childrn like you said and the Hindus also consider it a great honor to name their kids after various deities. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity.Gorls are name after her.In fact when a girl child is born they say lakshmi has come into the family.

Pat said...

I know of women named Lakshmi in our city - she goes by the nickname of "Lucky"... now I can see why.

david mcmahon said...

Hi Amrita,

Saw you on Pijush's blog. Really informative post - and I thoroughly enjoyed the main photograph on your `Idol Making' post.

Good luck with your health and you care of your mother and aunt.

I was born and educated in India - and proud of it!

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
congratulation with India's half of the Nobel Peace Price. Many mean they should have had it alone. Al Gore had the means and money to campaign for himself.
I agree with you, it is a shame that Mahatma Ghandi did not get the prise. He really accomplished something worth remembering to all nation; free his country without the use of military power.
Seems that modern nations are not willing to learn from his example.
And my fellow countrymen were cowards to daring to give Ghandi the price.
Then again Churchill also was nominated for the peace prise after WW2. He did not get it either.
Hope yoou have had a peaceful Sunday.
From Felisol in Norway

surjit said...

Hi Amrita,
A very good informative post on this auspicious time.
God bless.

Donetta said...

and we have our holloween only the one night this must just be a challenging time.

nvittal said...

For some reason, it wouldn't let me comment here earlier. Blogger is always a challenge!! I really liked the way you use this blog to talk about local traditions and culture.

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