Saturday, October 4, 2008

Navratri festival

Navratri Festival.

 Navratri is a composite festival celebrated all over in India. Depending on gauna – local tradition, but for most beginning with the new Moon (Amavasya – dark moon Night) or for some on the ninth day of the month of Virgo (Kanya) just prior to the Amavasya, or on the first day of the Hindu month of Ashwina (Padmanabha Vaishnava mase), Various ceremonies are performed. This festival consists of facts and worship of nine aspects of Durga, one on each of the nine days. Navratri is known as the Festival of Nights honoring the goddesses.

 Consequently this festival of Navratri is popularly known as Durga Puja in Bengal. After these nine days comes the Dashami, the tenth day, which is the day of the famous festival of Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami ( the tenth day of victory). This is the day Lord Rama had killed Ravana, signifying the victory of good over evil. Vaishnavas generally being absorbed in Vijaya Dashami rather than Durga puja.

 The following are the most popular forms of the goddess under which she is worshipped: Durga, goddess beyond reach; Bhadrakali, the Auspicious Power of Time; Amba or Jagadamba, Mother of the World; Annapurna, Giver of food and plenty; Sarvamangala, Auspicious Goddess; Bhairavi, Terrible, Fearful, Power of Death; Chandika or Chandi, Violet, Wrath, Fury; Lalita, Playfulness personified; Bhavani, the Giver of Existence.

 Navratri, is celebrated as the festival of nine nights, and is celebrated differently in different parts of India. In Gujarat, for nine nights, women and girls decked in finery dance the garba around an earthen lamp or a Kalash (Pitcher) symbol of divine power, which is decorated with flowers and betal leaves, and has its mouth covered with a coconut. They sing and dance, clapping their hands in rhythmic movements, or does the Stick dance, holding two sticks and striking them to the rhyth, of the music.
 In Tamil Nadu, the first three days of the festival are dedicated to Lakshmi, Goddess of Beauty and Prosperity; the next three days to Durga, Goddess of Righteousness, and the last three days to Saraswati, Goddess of Music and Learning.

 In Andhra Pradesh the temple in the house is decorated with clay images of the Deities. A special sweet meal like laddoos or sweet rice colored yellow with turmeric, or Khir (milk) preparation Cooked in rice) is made every day and after offering to the household gods, is eaten. Everyone wears new clothes and friends drop in to see the family’s collection of images.

 In Maharastra on the first days of Navratri the idol of Yogeshvari, a benign form of Durga, is installed in the house and the Haldi-Kum Kum ceremony is held. Haldi (turmeric) and kum kum (vermilion) is applied on the forehead and sandalwood paste is smeared on the arms of all the invitees as these are considered auspicious.

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Ganesh Picture

Ganesh Picture