In India, a country with a myriad of religions, customs and beliefs, blended expertly in colours of democracy, there is one festival that stands out above others. Spread over a period of 9 days, this festival is a celebration of the vibrancy and diversity of India where the whole country unites to worship the Goddes Shakti or Durga in different forms.
The festival is celebrated all over India but in different ways but the most flamboyant and renowned Navratri celebrations can be seen in western India, throughout the State of Gujarat and Mumbai.
In Gujarat, Navratri is a community event, where people perform devotional songs and dances that are popular by the names of ‘Dandiya Raas’ and ‘Garbha Raas’, and observe Jaagran (waking through the night), to please the Goddess. While dancing, the dancers move around in a circle, with different steps around a lamp, which represent the Eternal Light of the Durga Mata.
A clay pot symbolizes the Garbha or the womb which is the source of life on earth. It is a prominent feature during Navratri celebrations in Gujarat. Women in vibrant and grand costumes dance around the pot which is filled with water, a betel nut and a silver coin The folk dance form of Garbha derives its name from the iconic clay pot around which women whirl and dance. Even men play Garbha along with women.
Dandiya Raas is another important attraction in Gujarat during the festive season. Colourful sticks of equal length are used for the dance. During the Dance, these stick are used instead of hands for clapping.
In Maharashtra, Goddess Durga is worshipped continuously for nine days of Navratri. Puja is performed on each day of Navratri and devotees offer the flower garland to the idol or image of the goddess Durga. Here also Dandiya and Garba dances are predominant.
Well, the world has always been keen about Indian culture,and hence a foreigner lady trying to learn dandiya.
In Maharashtra the 9 days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga while the Vijayadashami is dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. This day is considered auspicious to begin education, buy new homes, start new ventures, and weddings.
9 different forms of the goddess are worshiped on each day of Navaratri and 9 different colours are associated with each day. In Gujarat and Maharashtra, women wear clothes of only these 9 Navaratri colours.
Stay tuned for more on the 9 Navaratri Colours.
Authored by Oindrila Mandal