festival is celebrated usually in the month of October
(the date is decided based on the lunar calendar and hence varies) dedicated
to Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, begins on Mahalaya Amavasya
- the New moon day. Sakthi as Goddess Durga slayed the demon Mahishasuran
after a fierce battle that lasted 9 days. The victory over evil is
celebrated as Navarathiri. The same function is celebrated as Dussera
in some parts of India.
nine & rathiri means night. Dus is ten in Hindi. The festival
that is celebrated for 9 nights or ten days is called Navarathiri
is worhipped on the first three days, Goddess Lakshmi on the 2nd three
days & Goddess Saraswathi on the last three days. The 10th day
is celebrated as Vijayadasami. (Vijaya means victory). Prayers and
pooja are offered to the Goddess on all 10 days in temples and households.
Chakkarapongal, payasam, vadai, sundal are the traditional offerings
to the Goddess during Navarathiri. The 9th day is celebrated as "Saraswathi
Pooja" or "Ayudha Pooja". The place is cleaned and all
books, tools, art, craft materials are placed in front of the Goddess for
her blessing. In factories and companies, all the machineries, tools
and account books are placed in the pooja before the Goddess. The
next day on "Vijayadasami", work is commenced, new ventures started,
children are admitted to school or art classes. Students offer their
respect & thanks to their teachers / gurus.
In the temples,
special pooja is offered and the Goddess (urchava murti) is decorated differently
each day and taken in procession. Music and dance events, discourses,
etc are organised in temples and sabhas.
function is very famous in Mysore and Kolkatta.
another popular aspect of Navarathiri is the "GOLU". This
is the display of dolls, idols, kolams in steps (usually an odd no. of
5, 7, 9) depending on aailability of space. Mniature settings of parks,
temples, scenes is very popular with the children in the family.
Friends and neighbours are invited. Visitors often sing a song or
recite slokams. They are given thamboolam (vethalai paaku, manjal,
coconut or fruits like orange, apple, banana) and the sundal of the day
and perhaps some small gift item.
day the golu is removed or atleast some of the dolls are laid flat to show
the display is over. I have provided a gallery of golus at the Parthasarathy
temple, Kuralagam display and a few homes.