HAPPY NAVARATHRI GREETINGS !
Pranams & Greetings to you !
Every Festival has its own Charm & Significance and so too is Navarathri! It is celebrated in a grand manner in Tamil Nadu and other States & Neighbouring countries as well in different manners. The Festival falls during the month of Purattasi. As the very name suggests the duration is for nine days!
The first three days are dedicated to Goddess Durga, the next three days for Goddess Lakshmi and the final three days are for Goddess Saraswathi.
In Tamil Nadu the Festival is famous for Kolu. The Display of Dolls are done in a systematic manner in the Nine Steps (or less also) representing 9 days. The steps are normally made in Wood or Steel.
To start with Kalasha (ceremonical Jar) is placed in the Top after putting some rice, vrali manjal, Lemon Fruit, Coins etc, and covered by Coconut and Mango Leaves. Apart from Kalasha, normally idols of Gods are placed in the Top few steps which may include Ashtalakshmi & Dasavatharam also. The next steps have Idols of Saints & Heroes of our Country like Mahatma Gandhi, Vivekanandar, Thiruvalluvar, Buddha, Bharathiyar and others. Then comes people representing various activities such as Marriage, Temple, Orchestra, Music, Police etc. Business is reflected usually by Chettiyar with Achi along with vegetables, Fruits & Shop items !
- Of late, Golu also carries thematic representation of ancient stories depicting scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharatha etc, besides Social Themes on Hygiene, Health & Pollution etc.
- Besides retaining some of the old dolls for sentimental reasons, it is also customary to add new collections each year, thereby encouraging people who depend on their livelihood by making dolls.
- Children also find pleasure in adding decorations creatively, besides making Park, Hills, Tank, Temple etc, with innovative ideas ! (Do encourage & appreciate them!)
- Navarathri is also a period utilized for visiting close relatives, friends & Neighbours and exchanging our Greetings through mutual hospitality by extending Thambulam & Gifts along with Tasty sundals or sweets.
- Kuthuvilakku is lit on the middle of the decorated Rangoli & Devotional Hymns & Slokas are chanted during the period. Poojas are also done with `Kumkum’ by reciting Lalitha Sahasranamam !
- It is also being celebrated as a community Function (Just as in Ayodhya Mandapam, West Mambalam) with huge display of dolls for eyes & Varieties of Bhajans & Music as Feast for Ears! In Religious Mutts also special celebrations take place with Traditional Rituals with Veda Parayanams. For Devotees of Sringeri, Sarada Navarathri is something very Special.
- On the 9th day, Saraswathi Pooja is celebrated seeking the divine grace for enriching our worldly wisdom and enlightenment. Books and Musical instruments are placed in the Pooja.
- Saraswathi Pooja also known as Ayutha Pooja is also celebrated in almost all offices and shops. It is an occasion when the annual cleaning process takes place, unwarranted old items are destroyed and the atmosphere becomes clean & divine, reinforcing the concept of work is worship and office is Temple! Nice Gifts including Pori & Fruits are distributed to all.
- Vijaya Dasami falls on 10th day and it is the most auspicious day of all. It was the day on which the Demon was ultimately destroyed by Goddess Durga. It is also known as Dashara or Durgotsav. It also signifies Durga’s victory over Asura.
- In the evening of Vijaya Dasami one Doll from the Kolu is symbolically put to sleep and the Khalasa is moved a bit towards North to mark the end of Kolu for the year.
- I recall my childhood days when I used to visit the Kolu in various Homes, render some divine songs and come back with large collection of varieties of sundals. Opening of the packets and pottalams itself used to be a thrill besides tasting the varieties!
- Many of us do not even know about our neighbours and carry no concern also.
I feel it is worthwhile to keep up a good relationship with neighbours and close people who are lovable to us rather than spending time chatting with unknown people across the World. Navarathri provides a Golden opportunity for the same !
- I extend my warm Greetings to all our clients and particularly women for a Happy & Delightful Navarathri! Let us preserve and cherish our unique culture !
With Kind regards & Best Wishes.
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