September 28, 2011

Navarathri and Golu

The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The 10th day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or Dashera.
It commences on the first day of the bright fortnight of the month of Puratasi. Navaratri is celebrated all over India in different ways. In Gujrat people celebrate the festival with garba and dandiya. In West Bengal they make pandals, and worship idols of Goddess Durga . Exquisitely crafted and decorated clay idols and set up and they are immersed in the river on the fifth day.
In Tamil Nadu, people set up steps and place idols on them. Its called the Golu. The first three days goddess Durga is celebrated, inorder to destroy all our impurities. The second three days Goddess Lakshmi is worshippes, who bestowes her devotees with wealth and abundance. And the final three days Goddess of Wisdom, Saraswati is worshipped. On the 9th day, Saraswati pooja is performed, all books are stacked along with an idol of the goddess. Ayudha Pooja is also performed today. All kinds of tools and equipments are cleaned and worshipped . Even vehicles, shops are decorated and pooja is perfomed. They distribute sweets and flattened rice mixed with peanuts, fried gram, jaggery.The 10th day, Vijaya Dasami - Its the day when evil is destroyed by good and a new prosperous beginning is made. All new ventures started on this day is believed to flourish. All kids read a book from the stack of books kept along with the idol on Saraswati pooja. Many parents admit their children to Play school on that day.

At our place, we have the Golu arrangement done every year. The golu stand is assembled on the Mahalaya Ammavasai day, day before the Navaratri festival commences. The padi or steps are usually odd in number. We have a 7 step golu stand. The stair is usually covered with a cloth and dolls are placed neatly and as per theme. Park, cricket ground are created with the help of sprouted mustard seeds etc on sand. Decorations and lightings are done to beautify the golu. Its a time for youngsters to show their creativity and use the crafty skills.
We have a collection of dolls, and its increasing year after year. These are the dolls sets we had stacked up for this year's golu.
The top steps usually have the regular golu dolls, Ram-Sita-Lakshman- Hanuman, Perumal-Thaayar, Vittal-Rukmani, Durga-Lakshmi-Saraswati, Gayatri Devi, Madurai Meenakshi, Krishna, Dasavataram, Ashtalakshmi, Marapachi Set, and Shirdi Baba Bhajan set.
The other steps have some new dolls which we got this year. Karagatam set, Annamalai-Unnamalai, Deivayanai Murugan Kalyanam, Cricket Set, Thalai Aati Bommai, Krishnar Uri Adi, Raja Darbar, Kuberan Set, Garuda Vahanam set and some miscellaneous dolls handed over by my grandma. In earlier times, the dolls used to be handed down from one generation to other. Our village house has a room full of clay dolls, and I myself have stolen some of the porcelain dolls from my granny ;)
Apart from the Golu arrangement, the sundal's are quite famous. Every evening, devotional hyms and slokas are chanted and a different type of sundal(prepared from dals) is offered as prasad to the deities and distributed to visitors. Ladies and girls used to visit friends and relatives and invite them for viewing the Golu. A small bag with kumkum, turmeric, bangles, mirror, comb, bindis, and other gifts are given to ladies who visit during these 9 days. On the Vijayadasami day dolls from the Golu are symbolically put to sleep, thus marking an end to the 10 day festivities. Festive spirit has already begun, and I will be posting some special neivedhyams for navaratri!!

Happy festive season!!!
Bon Appetit!!


Kolly wood said...

கொலு அழக இருக்கு