Navratri is the festival of Goddess Durga. Navratri means ‘Nine Nights’. People celebrate this festival all over India. But each state has its different way of celebrating Navratri. Take a look at how these states celebrate the same festival in different ways.
Gujarat celebrates Navratri on first nine days of Ashwin month. The devotees fast for nine days and worship the goddess. During the fast, the women of Gujarat, bring an earthen pot home, with holes, and light it every evening and perform the aarti of maadurga. The pot is called ‘Garbi’ and the light symobolises Shakti, ‘power’. People are gathered and they perform Garba and Dandiya and they are dressed in ChaniyaCholi and Kurta. The festival is enjoyed by all the age groups.
2 Tamil Nadu
In Tamil Nadu, Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati are worshiped during the Navratri. As Navratri is of nine days, the first three days are dedicated to Durga, the next three to Lakshmi and the final three days to Goddess Saraswati. Women belonging to the Iyer community invite married women to their homes in the evenings and gift them with accessories like bangles, earrings and other items that are symbolic of their marital status. There is a very interesting thing about Navratri in Tamil Nadu that is “Kolu”. It is a staircase having 9 stairs, representing the 9 nights and each stair is decorated with beautiful dolls, and idols of gods and goddesses. It is said that the dolls that are used are handed over from generation to generation.
3 Andhra Pradesh
As it is “Kolu” in Tamil Nadu, it is called “BatukammaPanduga” in Andhra Pradesh, which means “Come Alive Mother Goddess”. Goddess Shakti is worshiped during this festival in Andhra Pradesh. Women make a beautiful flower stack known as “Batukamma”, which is arranged with seasonal flowers. Women wear beautiful sarees and worship the Goddess in front of Batukamma. This lasts for nine days and after that the Batukamma is floated in lake.
Nothing has changed in Karnataka. The Navratri is celebrated in the same way as it was celebrated in the times of Raja Wodeyar in the 1610. The people follow the trend which was followed by the great Vijayanagara dynasty during these nine nights. The trend is called `NaadaHabba’. The rituals include elephants’ procession on the streets, including fairs and exhibitions of handicrafts and artifacts.
5 West Bengal
The way Navratri is celebrated in West Bengal is very different from the other states. Navratri is known as Durga Puja in West Bengal and it starts from the seventh day. It lasts for four days and these days are known as Saptamai, Ashthami, Navami and Dashmi. It is the main festival of the people of West Bengal. The pandals are constructed in different parts of the state where large sized idols of Goddess Durga on her lion, demon Mahishasur, Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya and Goddess Laxmi and Saraswati are erected. The people try to look their best at the Durga Puja. They start shopping for the festival few months before. For the Gods and the Goddesses, pandals become their temporary abode and their sight mesmerises one and all.
6 Himachal Pradesh
As the way of celebrating this festival is unique in every state so it is in Himachal Pradesh. The tenth day is the most important day of Navratri in Himachal Pradesh. It is known as KulluDusshera in the state.In all the other states, the festival comes to an end on the tenth day whereas it starts on the tenth day in Himachal Pradesh. People mark this day to rejoice the return of victorious Lord Rama to Ayodhya. Songs and dance are common ways to express devotion and exhibitions of various items are set-up.
Punjabis fast on the first seven days of this festival and they end their fast on Ashthami or Navami. The way they end their fast is very unique. They worship nine girls and one boy on Ashthami or Navami. It is know as “Kanjak”. They invite nine girls and one boy to their home and treat them with Halwa, Poori and Chhole and end their fast.
In Maharashtra, people believe that Navratri is a good time to buy new things or start something new. So, purchasing of a home or a car or new business deals or engagement is very common during this time. Married women invite their female friends, put haldi and kumkum on their foreheads and gift them with a coconut as a gesture of `Saumangalyam` (remaining the wife of her husband until her last breath). The Navratri of Maharashtra is same as Gujarat so they also have Dadiya and Garba in this festival.
In Kerala, the Navratri is celebrated on the last three days that are Ashthami, Navami and Dashmi. This is an important festival for the people of Kerala. As we all know that in India, the highest literacy rate is in Kerala so the people of this state believe that this is the best time to learn new things and gain knowledge. The people place books and musical instruments in front of Goddess Saraswati’s idol on the day of Ashtami. The books are worshiped by the people. They pray to Goddess Saraswati to bless them with more knowledge. They take the books out on the Tenth day to read them.