We recently celebrated the Indian autumn festival of Navratri – a ten-day, nine-night festival celebrated every year between September – October. Navratri is observed in various ways depending on what region of India one is from and is the most important Indian festival only second to Diwali. Navratri symbolizes the victory of positive energy over negativity.
What is Navratri?
Navratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit; Nav meaning Nine and Ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, the three forms of the goddess are invoked — Durga (the goddess of strength/ Mother earth/positive energy), Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and purity) and Saraswathi (goddess of wisdom, music, arts and knowledge). Navratri is at its core an art festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. Women and girls take a central stage at this festival, as this is a celebration of famine qualities such as dance, music, arts, nature and nurture.
Navratri Golu Celebrations in South Indian Tamil Homes:
In southern Indian Tamil homes Navratri is celebrated with a Golu. Golu are displays created on odd-numbered steps depicting various scenes in Indian mythology using dolls, toys, souvenirs and collectables.
During Golu, women in the neighborhood invite each other to visit and view each other’s Golu displays and to celebrate the arts, music, and education.
At the Golu women and children are encouraged to share their performing arts talents by singing or playing a musical instrument of their choice.
As appreciation for coming to view their Golu displays, the hostess will present their lady visitors with a small present which are usually items such as hair clips, bangles, bracelets, purse, or home decor related gifts.
On the 9th day of the festival a special puja (religious celebration) is offered to goddess Saraswati who is the Goddess of wisdom and the arts. Books and musical instruments are placed in front of an idol of Saraswati and kids pray to her for good grades and good source of knowledge.
The tenth day is the last day of the festival and is called Vijayadasami. This is considered to be the most auspicious day of all. It was the day on which evil was finally destroyed by good. It marks a new and prosperous beginning.
For more information on Golu and its origins in Southern India related to farming and the clay and ceramics industry take a look at these articles Celebrating the Autumn Festival of Golu or Golu: Where the dolls come alive.
Golu Celebrations 2017
This year Navratri occurred from Thursday, September 21st – Saturday, September 30th. This meant that we only had one weekend in-between to celebrate Navratri Golu with family and friends. We had a packed weekend of Golu visits this year. Here are some pics of this year’s Golu celebrations.
Golu Viewing and Dinner at Veena’s:
Scrumptious vegetarian feast prepared by Veena:
Golu Viewing and Lunch at Gowri’s:
Gourmet vegetarian lunch all prepared by Gowri is served!
Everyone having a great time!
A perfect Navratri Golu celebration at Gowri’s.
Golu Viewing at Divya’s:
Golu viewing at Meera’s:
Wonderful Navratri celebrations this year with all the ladies and gals!
Poem by Kavya …
Navratri, the festival of Goddess Durga is round the corner,
Each day has its own significance
The Goddess is venerated during these days
She embodies the power of creation, preservation and destruction
Worshipping Her bestows wealth, knowledge and prosperity.
The first three days, the Goddess is venerated as Durga, who destroys evil
The next three days, She is worshipped as Lakshmi, who grants wealth and prosperity.
The last three days, as Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom,
The tenth day is referred to as Dussehra or Vijayadashmi.
This major festival is celebrated across In East West North and South India,
The whole nation dresses up in vibrant colours
As each day represents a color signifying the deity.
Navratri is a festival of Dance Music and Colours,
Holiness, Life and Religious Unity,
Its a festival we all look forward to as it brings together people of all community.
” Today, I will focus on the positive energy I possess, and let the power of love and light illuminate my soul.” Melanie Moushigian Koulouris