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Navratri Festival Celebration
October 17 - October 25
It is celebrated by all the Hindus with great devotion for 10 days. deity of Goddess Durga is worshipped during Navratri. In some regions in India devotees stay awake the whole night during the nine days of Navratri and play Dandiya and Garba.
Navratri, also spelled Navaratri or Navarathri, is a multi-day Hindu festival celebrated in the autumn every year. It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian subcontinent.
In south India on the first day of Navratri Ganesh pooja is performed first as a welcoming ritual then performed for goddesses by Hindu ritual called Kalasa Avahanam which is performed by an elderly male or female in the family. This is then followed by building a rack of odd-numbered shelves of Kolu (usually 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11), set up using wooden planks. Then Kolu will be covered with fabric it is then adorned with various dolls, figurines and toys according to their size, with the deities at the top.
The Kolu is predominantly displayed with depictions from Puranas, court life, royal procession, ratha yatra, weddings, everyday scenes, miniature kitchen utensils or park or zoo or more. People visit various homes to see the way the Kolu was made in others home. Visitors come and sing song in praise of the God.
Navratri Celebration and Fasting
• Some people eat only fruits and drink milk during the entire nine days and nights.
• Some eat meal one time a day and that meal should be satvik, which means vegetarian meal which is prepared without the use of onion and garlic.
• Fasting is not compulsory and even after few years if the devotee feels that he or she is not capable of continuing fast during Navratri, he or she can discontinue also.
• It is good to keep mind, body and thoughts pure during the time of Navratri.
• If possible try to light a Jyot in front of Goddess Durga’s statue or at least a picture throughout the nine days and nights.
• Start the prayers with praying for Lord Ganesha and then perform aarti in front of Goddess Durga.
• Men do not shave or cut their hair during this period.
• People do not wear black clothes during this period and avoid keeping leather goods with them.
• People worship young girls and feed them with sweets and different types of traditional and delicious food items. They consider them as form of Goddess Durga.
• Since it is believed that Goddess is fond of red flowers and red colour, women and young girls prefer wearing clothes in red and yellow colour.
• Fasting commences on the ninth night of Navratri.
Devotees pray to Goddess Durga to destroy the evil during Navratri. They ask the help and strength from the Goddess to fight against the evil and protect the Hindu dharma. In West Bengal, men and women celebrate Navratri as Durga Pooja and worship huge idols of Mother Goddess Durga. In Gujarat people perform traditional dance which is known as Garba almost throughout the night. They wear colourful dresses and mostly Indian traditional dresses are preferred.
Dussehra or Navratri is also celebrated as Lord Rama’s victory over the Demon king Ravana. He was the ten headed king of Lanka and had kidnapped Rama’s wife, Sita. The main objective is, however, to celebrate the victory of good over the evil. They burn the statue of Ravana on the 10th day of Dussehra.