Navaratri is the most special & important festival in our culture. “Nava” means nine & “Ratri” means nights, celebrating this festival for nine nights. Devotees worship all nine forms of Goddess Durga during nine nights in Navaratri . Worshiping of little girls, Kumarika has given great importance irrespective of their caste during navaratri. Kumarika pujan for nine days shows the social as well as religious aspect of our custom.
Ganesh Puja and Navratri are the two biggest festivals of the year in many parts of India.
Both are celebrated in a big way at individual level and community level. Everyone look forward to those festivals. The mood of the navaratri is very unique, its colorful, bright and happy. Large number of devotional groups & cultural organizations keep the Navaratri spirit alive by organizing the festival on a grand scale. At every square there will be beautiful clay idol of Durga ma in different forms & decorated with different themes.
These clay idols are worshiped for nine days and then on the 10th day they are immersed in the water. It’s interesting to see the creativity of each and every group. Number of youngsters participate in the celebration. In fact it’s a ritual in many families to go & visit different Durgama idols in the town during these nine days.
Then comes the tenth day of Navaratri, “Vijayadashami or Dasehara”. Everyone eagarly wait for this day, People decorate their houses with Marigold flowers, mango leaves, draw beautiful Rangoli at the entrance, make different mouth watering delicacies . Its always a busy & fun filled day with number of activities. Ravan Dahan (Burning of Ravan)
symbolises the end of evil era. It also means that we should get rid of any bad habbit or evil things in our life, what a great message through small customs. In Karnataka, Maysore Dashera is very famous, people from all over the world come to see the Mysore celebration. In Maharashtra, on Dasera day people go for “Simolankhan”. It means offering prayers at the outskirts or at the temple near the city/town border and then people visit each others houses and give each other “Shami patra(leaves)” also called as Sona (Gold) The importance of giving Shami leaves is that Pandav kept their weapons on the Shami tree while they were in exile and after the completion of exile on Vijayadashmi they took out all the weapons from the tree and headed towards Hastinapur that’s why we give each other the Shami leaves as a symbol of freedom and prosperity hence forth. As a token sweets are given to every visitor. Indeed it’s a great way of celebrating any festival.
The best part about this festival is , with commercialization, the festival has moved on to be a social festival rather
than just a religious one, which allows everyone from any religion to participate and enjoy. It surely gives us a chance to
get-together and know each other.