- Navaratri Pooja
What is Navratri?
Navratri means those nine nights and days which are dedicated to worship female principle of nature and goddesses. As the agricultural communities had free time only in the evenings (days being too busy with manual labor in the fields), evenings and nights were chosen as the ideal times to celebrate the festival of the goddesses. Nine nights or Navarathri are dedicated to the three main goddesses of Hinduism - Parvati, Lakshmi and Sarasvati. Click here to read more
Why do we celebrate Navarathri?
Navarathri is the celebration dedicated to divine mother. During Navratri festival we celebrate the victory of the Goddess over the forces of duality, the forces and energies which make us think that we are separate from Mother. During Navratri we celebrate the victory of the Goddess over the forces of duality, the forces and energies which make us think that we are separate from Mother.
What is the story of Navratri?
Although there are several legends and folklores associated why Navratri or Dushera is celebrated but they focus towards the victory of positive forces. So the message given by such legends is to work towards eliminating those negative elements within ourselves.
How to perform Navratri Pooja?
Navarathri Puja is done differently on the all nine days. Here is the way by which Navratri Pooja is performed traditionally (Some customs may vary from region to region)
- Kalash Sthapana
- Devata Pooja
- Sapta Sati Pooja
- Akhanda Deepa
- Mala Bandhana
- Upavasa (During day time)
- Suvasini Pooja
- Kumari Pooja
-Sthrotra Mantra Homa.
What is the significance of Navratri?
Although Navratri is associated more with the Spiritual risings but it also leaves message for the people leading Grihasta ashrams should invoke Durga's help to surmount obstacles, pray to Lakshmi to bestow peace and prosperity, and contemplate upon Saraswati in order to gain knowledge. These three ingredients are just as necessary for a full and complete worldly life. In reality, when we pray like this, we are but invoking the Shakti that is within ourselves.
How to perform Navratri Aarti?
Aartis are performed during the Puja of these deities. Aarti in turn is the act of showing reverence to a particular god or goddess, through invocations, prayers, songs, and rituals. An essential part of Aarti for the Hindu devotee is making a spiritual connection with the divine. This is made through these Aarti as one sing these devotional songs and pictures self as sitting in front of the god or goddess he is praising in his / her prayer. Click here to read more
What is Navratri Kolu or Navarathri Golu?
In Southern states of Tamil Nadu and to a lesser extent in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the festival of Navarathri is called Kolu or Navratri Golu, where women set up decorated planks in a corner of the house and decorating it with dolls which are collected over the years. The origin of the word Kolu can be traced to Tamil Kolu or Telugu Koluvai, which means a sovereign sitting in his royal durbar. As per belief the concept of arranging these Navratri dolls on the plank is to depict that Goddess Mahishasuramardini is sitting in her Kolu, prior to the slaying of the demon Mahishasura . Traditionally Dandiyas were bamboo sticks about feet in length. Today, Dandia Sticks come in numerous size, color and style.
What are the Pooja rituals done daily during Navratri?
*Special recitation of Goddess Durga is conducted daily including the reciting of Durga Saptashasti. *All are exhorted to do the maximum number of Japa of the Navarna Mantra, Aim hreem kleem chaamundaayai vichche, or the Mantra of their own tutelary Deity.
*An elaborately decorated altar is set up for the evening Satsangs, with the picture of Mother Durga for the first three days, Mother Lakshmi for the next three days, and Mother Saraswathi for the last three days. Many sacred verses from the scriptures are recited and many Kirtans are sung. The Durga Saptashati or the Devi Mahatmya is recited and explained in discourses. The function concludes with the formal floral worship and Arati. Sometimes scenes from the Devi Mahatmya are also enacted.
* Besides the books representing Saraswathi, all instruments and implements like typewriters, printing machinery, etc., are also worshipped on the ninth day.
*On the Vijaya Dasami day, all aspirants en masse are given initiation into various Mantras according to their tutelary Deities. Deserving aspirants are initiated into the holy order of Sannyas. Initiation in the study of the alphabets is given to young children, and to the old children also! New students commence their lessons in music, etc. During the morning Satsang the books which were worshipped on the ninth day are again worshipped and a chapter from each of the principal scriptures like the Gita, Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, Ramayana, and Srimad Bhagavata is recited.
*On the Vijaya Dasami day, there is Kanya Puja also. Nine girls below the age of ten are worshipped as the embodiment of the Divine Mother. They are fed sumptuously and, amongst other things, presented with new clothes.
*On this last day a grand havan is conducted in the temple, with recitation of the Durga Saptashati and other verses in praise of the Divine Mother.
What is Vasanth Navratri?
Navratri or Navratra festival is celebrated twice in a year. Once in spring season which is called Chaitra Navratri or Vasanth Navratri or Spring Navratri. For the year 2010 Chaitra Navratri Festival falls on March 19, 2010. Most of the people are unaware of this Navratri celebration in the month of March because the festival is not popular amongst the other Indian populace due to lack in pomp and fanfare. Although like its October counterpart this festival is celebrated to mark the seasonal changes. Vasanth Navratri is celebrated at the beginning of the summer whereas the Navratri in October marks the beginning of the winter. Vasanth Navratri is also known as Ram Navratri because Ram Navami falls on the nine day of Chaitra. This Spring Navratri or Vasanth Navratri festival is dedicated to Mother Gauri or Parvati.
What is the food to be eaten during Navratri?
The Indian cuisines are famous for their variety and special Navratri cuisine are a part of the multitude of culinary delights. Since in most of the communities, people observe fast during Navratri and eat only one meal a day at sunset, the Navratri meal or Dandia night food has special courses and is strictly vegetarian. Even onion and garlic are not allowed due to their foul smell. Specific ingredients and vegetables are used that may vary from region to region. Non veg is totally avoided during Navratri festival. Spices are restricted to red chilies, turmeric and cumin seeds and only rock salt can be used. However, one can eat milk, curd, fruits and nuts. Click here to read more
How to observe Navratri Fasts?
Navratri Vrat or Navaratri Vrata is an important fast observed by Hindus during Ashvin (September – October). It is believed that those devotees who perform Navratri fasting will find happiness on earth and will receive ‘moksha.’The Navratri fast is observed from the first day to the ninth day of Ashvin month. People take bath in the morning and evening during this period and some even drink water only after the ritual bath in the morning. Most devotees take only a single meal during the day. Non-vegetarian food is totally avoided. Some people confine to milk and fruits during the nine days. Some devotees only observe fast during three days i.e., first fast during any one of the first three days and second fast during any one of the next three and last in any one of final three days.
What to wear on Navratri?
Navratri this term translates to nine nights in Sanskrit where the importance is laid to worship the divine power. Other than that we can also translate Navratri as those nine nights where men and women will seek your attention by adorning dresses in bright hues matching their rhythms with Dandiya sticks and music. Typical Garba wear for the women consist of Chaniya Choli
Chaniya choli is divided into three parts:
Chaniya, Choli and Odhni. Chaniya is the long flowing skirt worn by women. Chaniya is also worn by women for other occasions like marriages etc. But the difference between Navratri Chaniyas and Chaniya’s worn during weddings is that mostly the Navratri Chaniyas are heavy with embroidered mirror works whereas The flare of chaniya needs to be very long at least 9 meters in width such that it produces some admirable twirls when the dancer turns around. Whereas traditional Chaniyas designed for weddings or for other formal wears are embroidered with either pearl, sequin, silk or zari and also those channiyas are not free flowing rather they are umbrella shaped. These Chaniyas can either be made of cotton, silk, chiffon, organza or satin cloth whereas for marriage like occasions Chaniya Cholis in brocade are preferred.
Choli worn by women is blouse which can be as traditional as long blouse extending below the waist as loose blouse or it can be as fashionable as short blouse that may just lie above the waist or it can be short with backless tie-ups called Bandni Choli or backless choli. Ethnic appearance of the Choli is enhanced by Embroidery, sequins, crystals, kundan stones, zardosi, and aari, thread work, mirror work etc. Choli designers today not only caters to the Indian audience but they have moved a step ahead in creating amalgamation of ethnic and traditional by creating bustiers, noodle straps, short necks, sleeveless and halter neck
Odhni or dupatta generally covers the head of the dancer. It need not be matching in color it can be plain or embroidered as per ones wishes.
It is believed that tradition of wearing these Chaniya Cholis originated in Rajasthan and Kutch region of Gujarat. Around 25 types of raw materials are needed to make swirling chaniya Cholis that are worn during the festival.
- Dandiya & Garba Raas
What is Dandiya?
Dandia are the sticks which are used for dance. These Dandiya sticks can vary from 1.5 to 2 feet in length, and is meant to represent the sword of the avenging Goddess Durga. The circles formed by men and women move in clockwise and anti- clockwise directions. Raas is a very energetic, colorful and playful dance providing an opportunity for acting and exchanging messages through eye contact. Nowadays dancers use metal dandiya sticks at the end of which tiny bells (ghungrus) are tied so that they give off a clear jingling sound when they strike one another.
How to play Dandia?
Although Dandia steps are very interesting to execute and play. There are different styles of executing dandiya steps like Dodhiyu, simple five,simple seven, popatiyu, Trikoniya (hand movement which forms an imagery triangle), Lehree, three claps, butterfly, hudo, two claps and many more Click here more read
How to choose correct Dandia Sticks?
Traditionally Dandiyas were bamboo sticks about feet in length. Today, Dandia Sticks come in numerous size, color and style.
* Choose the revolving dandiyas which are metallic ones with a socket and ball bearing in the center, to give a good effect when the stick goes whirling in the air.
* Choose the Acrylic dandiyas are colorful, light and attractive if want to attract the others attraction towards your Dandiya.
* Choose wooden dandiyas which to hear that definitive sound of clashing sticks. Among wooden ones, there are wide ranges of stick to choose from from ones with tiny bells and trinkets to those with silk or fabric coatings.
What is Garba Raas?
Modern Garba is also heavily influenced by Raas a dance traditionally performed by men. It is performed on 9 nights, 'Navratri' to Goddess Ambica, where women dance gracefully in circles sometimes also using, 'Bedu, Kanjari' or just 'Taali' and 'Chapti'. The word Garba is derived from the word Garba Deep meaning a lamp inside a perforated earthen pot. The light inside the perforated earthen pot symbolized the embryonic life. In this folk dance, ladies place the pot with the lamp on their heads and move in circles, singing in time measure by clapping their palms or snapping their fingers, to the accompaniment of folk instruments. Formerly associated with the legend of Krishna, Garba is now a regular feature during the Navratri puja (nine nights in honor and worship of the goddess Durga). Click here more read.
What is Dandiya Raas?
Raas which is supposed to belong to Kutch and Saurashtra is performed all over Gujarat. The Raas traditions are as old as the Puranic period. In various parts of the country, Raas are danced in different manners. The main feature of Raas is dancing in a circle by men and woman, to the accompaniment of musical instruments and keeping time either by clapping or beating of two sticks.
The number of dancers goes from 8, 16, and 32 up to 64 couples, who also sing the song. There are three varieties of Rasaka described. Danda Rasaka-Rasa dance where Danda or sticks and it is usually known as Dandiya Raas. Click here to read more.
What is the difference between Dandiya Raas and Garba Raas?
The main difference between the 'Garba' and 'Dandiya' dance performances is that Garba is performed before Dandiya 'Aarti' (worshipping ritual) as devotional performances in the honor of the Goddess while Dandiya is performed after it, as a part of merriment. While Garba is performed exclusively by women, men and women join in for Dandiya. Also known as 'stick dance' as performers use a pair of colorfully decorated sticks as props, the circular movements of Dandia Raas are slightly more complex than that of Garba. The dancers strike the sticks with their partners to the rhythm of the music. The origin of these dance performances or 'Raas' can be traced back to the life of Lord Krishna. Today, 'Raas' is not only an important part of Navratri in Gujarat but extends itself to other festivals related to harvest and crops as well.