Saturday, October 1, 2016

Navarathiri Festival Specialities

Navarathri is a Hindu festival of worship and dance. This is the longest celebrated Indian festival. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights. Nava meaning Nine and Ratri meaning nights. The Navaratri festival or ‘Nine-day festival’ becomes ‘Ten day festival’ with the addition of the last day, Vijayadashami or Dussehra which is its culmination. On all these ten days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-mardini (Durga) are worshiped with fervor and devotion. 
According to Hindu belief,  ‘The Embodiment of Divine Power' (Para-Shakti), has three important manifestations: Maha- Saraswati (Goddess Of Knowledge), Maha-Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity) and Mahakali or Durga (Warrior Goddess). 

During the Navaratri, the Goddess "Para-Shakti" is struggling to overcome the forces of vice, wickedness and egoism and on Vijaya Dashami (Dasara, the tenth Day commemorating victory), she conquers and destroys all evil forces (i.e. bringing to an end the atrocities of Asuras like Mahishasuran, Shumban, Nishumban, Madhukaidapan, Thumralochanan and Rakthabheejan). Para-Shakti is all-pervasive, omnipotent, infinite as well as all-knowing. 

Golu and its philosophy :- 

In Tamil Nadu, Navarathri is celebrated by setting up ‘Golu' in a corner of every home (i.e. a gallery of handcrafted dolls representing major deities, scenes from everyday life, thematic doll sets representing mythological events or even modern day happenings and so on). 

In Tamil, Golu means a sovereign sitting in his royal durbar. The underlying belief in arranging these Navratri dolls on the tier is to depict that Goddess Durga or Mahishasuramardini is sitting in her Golu, prior to the slaying of the demon Mahishasura.
The furniture or golu stand has 9 tiers or steps. It is significant that the Navaratri Golu is set up with the arrangement of dolls on an odd number of steps (usually 3,5,7,9).

The counting of the first step begins from top and proceeds to the bottom most step. The top most is step one, the next one is step two and the step nine is the bottommost one.  

Tiers 1-3: You are expected to arrange Kalasam on the first tier or step. The first tier or step begins on top of the display furniture (golu stand). Goddess Durga, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Saraswati, Siva, Vishnu, Brahma and all other gods and goddesses occupy tier one to three. You may keep Dasavatharam set.

Tiers 4-6: Counting from top to bottom. You are expected to organize the next three steps to saints like Azhwars, Nayanmars, Guru Raghavendra, Sai Baba, and the like and you may even locate men and women of importance, i.e. national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsar, Swami Vivekananda etc.

Tier 7: Counting from top to bottom. You are free to organize sets of dolls on themes like family, marriage, festivals like Deepavali, Rama Navami, Krishna Jayanthi, etc.

Tier 8: Counting from top to bottom. You may organize sets of dolls according to your imagination and creativity. You may arrange various businesses and crafts, say for example your Chettiar dolls sitting in his business shop surrounded by grocery items like rice, pulses kept in bags or other utensils.

Tier 9: Bottom-most tier. You have the liberty to arrange the traditional wooden dolls called (Marapachi) - covered and decorated with glittering dresses. So also you may keep dolls of fish, tortoise, reptiles, birds, lion, tiger, cow, bulls, etc.
  


On the 10th night after the ceremonial art and prayers, the dolls are put to ‘sleep.' You may pack up the dolls and preserve them for the next year golu.
 
Nine days rituals :-

The festival of Navratri revolves around the three aspects of Goddess Shakti which are worshiped, with first three days devoted to Goddess Durga, followed by fourth, fifth and sixth days devoted to Goddess Lakshmi and last three days for Goddess Saraswati. 
You may invite your friends and relatives to view your golu. Every day you are supposed to offer sweet pongal, sweets, sundal (boiled dhal with spices), etc., as naivedhyam and distribute among friends and relatives. 

Every day, you may dress up your children with fancy dresses depicting Lord Krishna, Devi Lakshmi or Devi Saraswati and so on. 

You may offer clothes, coconut, fruits, sweets, small mirror, kumkum, turmeric, comb, beetle leaves with supari to married woman folks (Sumangalis). 
  

Fasting in Navarathiri :- 

Fasting in Navarathiri follows a practice of cleansing, and purifying one’s body and soul, which is believed to result in blessing a person with virtue.

During fasting in Navarathri, only fruits, milk, potato and other root vegetables should be eaten. Grains are said to be avoided as it is assumed that grains absorb negative energies. Sendha namak (rock salt) is a significant ingredient used instead of common salt. Throughout the Navarathri vrat (fasting), devotees evade non vegetarian food as Navarathri is considered as a period of purity.
Navaratri in 2012 will start on Tuesday, the 16th of October and will continue for 9 days until Wednesday, the 24th of October

Celebrations :-

Navaratri is celebrated by communities getting together for dances and nightly feasts. Dandiya is performed during Navarathri which is the dramatization of a mock fight between the Goddess and Mahishasura - the mighty demon-king. 
In fact, it holds a significant place in Navratri celebrations. It is known for setting the festive mood and it is the most popular dance of Navratri evenings in Gujarat. 
 The sticks of the dance represent the sword of Durga.

Dusshera :-

The tenth day, Dusshera, he went to do battle against the evil Ravana who had actually kidnapped Ram’s wife Sita also a goddess.  On Dusshera people will burn large effigies of Ravana during a reenactment of the Ram-Ravana saga. 
Source : Google

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