Chennai: The ten-day long Navarathri extravangaza has just ended. However, the festive mood in the air seems to show no signs of dying down. In a diverse country like ours, it is no surprise that the same festival is celebrated in myriad ways. News Today catches up with few of them belonging to diverse communities on what the just-concluded festival meant to them.
Sunanda Guha (23) of Kolkata who is currently in Chennai, cannot stop gushing on this year’s Durga Pooja. ‘It was two weeks of solid fun and entertainment with relatives from all over the world coming together to celebrate. The various pandals erected by the Bengali communities around the city ensured that the Kolkata feel is intact’, she says.
Another reason why Durga Pooja is eagerly awaited by the Bengalis is that this is the time married daughters return to their parents’ home for the festivities. ‘The celebrations end with the immersion of the Goddess in the sea’, adds Sunanda.
For the South Indian community, the festival is marked with the usual rituals such as special poojas to vehicles and the ‘kolu’ at homes. ‘Although the tradition is the same year-after-year, we do try to bring in variety by innovating in ‘kolus’, says Srinidhi, a home maker.
The fortnight ends with Vijayadasami, the day which is considered to be auspicious for all new ventures. For instance, tiny tots are enrolled in school or children join music or dance classes and the like.
For those up North, Navarathri reins in celebrations of the highest order, with people indulging in Garba and Dandiya dances. Although originally a Gujarati tradition, these dance forms have now spread their influence across States, making them pan-Indian.
Navarathri for Biharis is the time when women are the centre of all attention. It is said that the women of the house fast for the well-being of their family and cook food without onions and garlic. According to Sandeep Kumar, a Bihari, ‘Diyas’ are lit in earthern pots and are kept outside homes to ward off evils. Also, during this time, nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped on all nine days’.
While the modes of celebration may vary across communities, the emotion and devotion associated with Navarathri are one-and-the-same, reaffirming that such festivals bind diverse India like none other.
Source: News Today