Where and How is Navratri celebrated?
Navratri is a festival of Shakti worshipped by the Hindus. It begins on 27th September 2011. In Tamilnadu, Navratri is celebrated for nine days and the 10th day onwards the Vijayadasmi celebrations begins. In Karnataka it is celebrated as Dussehra. The Mysore Palace is illuminated with lights which is beautiful to look at. In West Bengal it is celebrated as Durga Puja. In Uttar Pradesh the festival is celebrated as Ramleela.
Meaning and History of Navratri:
Navratri means nine nights. Vasanta Navaratri, Ashadha Navaratri, Sharada Navaratri, and Magha Navaratri are different types of Navaratris celebrated during the year.During these nine days the nine forms of Shakti are worshipped. Hindus worship these days in many ways depending upon the local history and region of their place. Goddess Aadiparasakti is worshipped in three forms as Maha Durgai, Mahalaksmi, Mahasaraswathi. As Mahakalli, MahaGowri, Mahamari and as Eicha Shakthi , Gyana Shakti , Kriya Shakthi. Those who worship Goddess Ambika worship her as Sridevi. They perform pujas accordingly. Every year in the month of Puratasi during full moon Prathamai to Navami for the nine days Navratri is celebrated . The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadasmi.
Celebrations and Dolls Decorations:
The first three days of the festival is devoted to worship Ambal as MahaDurga. Next three days as Mahalakshmi and the last three days as Maha Saraswathi. The puja rituals are conducted according to this tradition. During the festival in Tamilnadu they arrange nine steps representing the nine days of Navratri. In this nine steps or the ladders, dolls of Gods , Goddess and other dolls are arranged in a beautiful way which is called Kolu. In the first step God Vinayaga (ganesha), Muruga , Shiva, Paarvathi , Nandhi and Komatha are placed. In the second step they place dolls of Lord Vishnu, Astalaksmi, Rishis ,Munivars and Thevars. In the third step Bramha, Saraswathi , Rivers and mountains are arranged. Some arrange dolls in the nine or 7 steps or in five steps based on some themes. For example , dolls are arranged based on the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu. Creativity plays a role in these arrangements and they also portray the culture and tradition of their families.
Hindu women consider this festival close to their hearts. Women invite young girls and married women to their houses and give them some small gifts such as bangles, sweets and other eatables.
During Navratri children play a major part in this Kolu festival. They visit many houses and display their talents like Slogan Recitation, Playing Veenas, Violins , singing songs and receive other gifts from elders.
Thus this festival helps in sharing of culture and is celebrated with joy.