Navratri is the beginning of the festival season for all of us. Each of the nine days is dedicated to different Avatars of Goddess Durga.Festivities start with Navratri to Dussera & continue till Diwali.
Starting from the first day, when everyone at home would be fasting & kids used to get leverage. Fasting for us meant eating loads more yummy food. Sabudana khicdi, kuttu pakode, potato chips,halwa-poori – top ones I could think right now. In my family the fasting is done for first seven days & Asthmi(eighth day) is Kanya Pujan.
My nephew is participating in Ramleela celebrations this time. He reminded me of my childhood celebrations. Everyone practising different roles & fight to get selected as Ram, Sita or Hanuman for skits held in the society.We used to collect funds from people living in the colony. Small Ravana replicas were created by all kids in the block & burnt in the evening. Over the course of nine-day different parts of Ramayana are enacted. Huge processions passing through the streets with children dressed as different Gods & Goddesses. Am I the only one getting nostalgic? Or you too are missing those carefree celebrations ?
As a child, I used to wait eagerly for the Asthmi/ Navmi (9th day). Girls would be dressed up in the best clothes & visit nearby home for the Kanya Pujan. Being treated as a Devi & worshipped is an amazing feeling. Also, there used to be one boy whom we would all tease.For a little kid that is a special privilege. We were fed halwa-poori-chana & given small gifts. Mothers were fed up by the end of the day, cause they were not even aware of our whereabouts throughout the day. Just thinking about it now & I am craving to relive all those moments again.
We celebrate the tenth day (Dussera) to mark the victory of good over evil – Lord Ram over Ravana. Evenings were spent in visiting different pandals & watching Ravana being burnt to signify the victory. I used to accompany my Grandpa & would constantly nag him for buying him different toys at the mela shops.
Dussera is known as Durga Puja in West Bengal, wherein pristine life-size crafted idols of Goddess Durga are installed in pandals. The idols are immersed in water on the last day. In later years, we had started witnessing this culture even in Lucknow. Adding up to the variety of celebration 🙂
Thinking about Navratri & how can I miss the Dandiya – Garba sessions of Gujarat. People engrossed in the graceful dance steps. I am guilty of having injured quite a number of people with the Dandiya sticks. Dandiya nights held in school & college. Sadly,I am yet to attend any Dandiya night this year. Just close your eyes and you can hear Falguni Pathak songs in the background.
Too many things to cherish about the Navratri celebrations. I hope that you were able to recall few of your own sweet memories. Eagerly waiting to hear about how you celebrate the Navratri, any rituals close to your heart !
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(All pictures sourced in from Google images & credits go to the owners)