What is Navaratri ?
The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Nava means nine, and Ratri means night. Navaratri, the famous Hindu festival, consists of nine nights of worshipping Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, as well as a special day of pooja during the day, which ends the festival.
Why do people celebrate it ?
As I discovered that there are many stories around Navaratri, I am sharing what I learned with Devi Mahatmyam. She is the best source of those stories.
Story on Mahishasura (1)
Mahishasura (Mahisha, buffalo, and asura, demon) was a buffalo demon who waged war against the Devas. He held the powerful boon that no man could kill him.After all the devas, including Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu, failed to defeat Mahishasura, they decided to create Goddess Durga with their combined powers.With all her abilities, Goddess Durga battled the asura riding a lion for nine days before killing him on the tenth day of Navaratri. Her name is also called Mahishasura Mardini, like her role in killing Mahishasura.Vijayadasami is celebrated to honor the victory over Mahishasura.
The Chanda & Munda (2)
In addition, my grandmother told me another legend about Navaratri - Chandi is the form combining goddesses Parvathi(Durga/Kali), Lakshmi, and Saraswati.Shakthi is the most powerful form of Durga, Laksmi, and Saraswathy. Together, they defeated Chanda, Munda, and Shumbha, the last two Asuras standing.To summarise, all of our holidays are held to commemorate the triumph of good over evil.The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga, the second three days to Lakshmi, and the final three days to Saraswathy.The Vijayadashami is celebrated on the tenth day.
It's known as Golu or Bommmai Kolu in Tamil, Bommalu Koluvu in Telugu, or Bombe Habba in Telugu (Kannada). Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra/Telangana are the states where it is most common. Golu is a display of dolls and sculptures of Gods and Goddesses. We put up the Golu on the first day of Navratri (which is usually Mahalaya Amavasya day or the following day) and keep it up till Vijaya Dasami day. During those nine days, we serve sundal / legume stir-fry every evening and distribute tamboolam to friends and neighbours. It's also a fantastic social gathering.
What is Golu's Importance?
During Navaratri, we keep golu to express our thanks to the Gods, Goddesses, our gurus, and all-natural elements like birds, animals, trees, flowers, and so on.
The Golu Steps and the Arrangement
Wooden golu stands and steel golu stands are both easily available these days.We used to construct it out of cardboard boxes.But today we have a wooden golu stand with five steps.
It can be found here ( GoluPadi )
Golu is also economically significant. It is extremely beneficial to the handcraft industry. The Golu is displayed on a step-like pedestal called as Golu Padi. We require an odd number of steps, and we can count the golu steps in one, three, five, seven, and nine if that is more convenient. The Kalasam, Marapachi Bommai (a pair of male and female wooden dolls), and Gods and Goddesses dolls are on the first two levels. Gurus are next, followed by animals and birds, and finally trees, fruits, and vegetables.
When to Keep the Golu & When to Remove It.
The Golu can be set up a few days before Navratri or on the first day of Navratri. The beginning of the Golu in our house is marked by the Marapachi Bommai and the kalasam. So, on the day before Navratri, I normally set up my Golu, and on the first day of Navratri, I keep the Kalasam and Marapachi Bommai on the first step. During raaghu kalam period, I make sure not to keep the kalasam. In an online calendar like Drik Panchang, you may verify the auspicious hour and the raaghu kalam.
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