Thought for the Week: Navrati
The festival of Navratri (Nine Nights) started on 7th Oct. It signifies the celebrations of universal divine feminine energy that resides in all sentient beings. Some people observe by doing specialised fast for nine days, meditation & chanting & their diet can be fruits/dry fruits & dairy products based. Prayers are offered every day & night and a wooden earthen pot is established representing womb of universe - Garbha with 27 holes in it. This holy pot is kept lit day & night by a ghee/oil lit lamp, signifying our soul. Some celebrate with rhythmic traditional dance praising the attributes of divine consciousness and the dance is called Garba, & there is also stick dance called Raas/Dandias. People wear traditional wear & dance around a shrine in Concentric circles. Both men and women pay their homage to nine forms of divine universal consciousness each represented for every day, which is believed (by Hindus) - to be residing in all of us in various forms such as love, compassion, eagerness/inquisitiveness.
Kindness, maternal feelings, sleep, knowledge, thirst, inner strength/power, abundance, peacefulness, wisdom etc.. all these attributes have feminine gender in Sanskrit (ancient language in which Hindu scriptures are written and from which majority of modern Indian languages have emerged).
The festival is also called Durga Puja & the last five days are celebrated with great fervour especially by the diaspora coming from eastern part of India.
Pandals- Huge structures with idol of goddess Durga are created for puja - religious service in public places, people also perform puja in homes. The festival is also marked by scripture recitations, performance arts, revelry, gift-giving, family visits, feasting, shopping and public processions.
Durga puja is one of the most important festivals in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, where female goddess & the matrix of feminine divine is considered the supreme head of the universe.
Diaspora coming from the Eastern states of India celebrate this festival as Durga Puja.
The worship/puja is performed in homes and in public- in later it features a temporary stage and structural decorations (known as pandals) This festival is also marked by scripture recitations, performance arts, revelry, gift-giving, family visits, shopping, feasting, and public processions.
Durga puja is an important festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism.
The Holi trinity of goddesses ( Tridevi), are worshipped for three days each during Navratri .
Diaspora from South India create Golu displays, which are typically thematic, narrating a legend from a Hindu Text, to court life, divine couples, idols/dolls representing ancestral couples, weddings etc.
Families visit each other with gifts to view and chit-chat over the golu display, share festive foods, and sometimes play music or sing devotional songs together. Major Hindu temples also have display of elaborate golu each year during Navratri. Ancient traditional temple dance such as Bharatnatyam performances are devotionally offered in the temples.
The Hindu Holi trinity of goddesses (Tridevi), are worshipped for three days each during Navratri. Namely Goddess Lakshmi (for abundance, beauty, prosperity & wealth), Durga (for inner strength, power, protection & energy) Saraswati (for wisdom, art, knowledge, speech, music & spirituality) .
Meeta Joshi, member of the Hindu faith
Date: Monday 11th October 2021
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