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Navratri

Navratri is an annual Hindu festival observed in honour of the goddess Durga, the supreme goddess, also referred to Devi Maa who represents the divine cosmic mother. The festival spans over nine nights and started on October 15 and will end on October 24.

‘Navratri’ means ‘nine nights’. ‘Nav’ means ‘nine,’ and ‘ratri’ means ‘night’. Nav also refers to the nine forms of the divine cosmic mother.

Navratri is a time of the year to experience deep rest, relaxation, creativity and freedom from all worries and problems. Fasting, meditation, prayers, and other spiritual practices performed during this period helps to bring about this rejuvenation.

Photos by Skanda Vale, 2023 https://www.skandavale.org

Navratri festivities are filled with vibrant colours visible in the decorations, dresses, and designs. Every day, communities get together to perform Garba which is traditionally a Gujarati folk dance that celebrates womanhood and honours all nine forms of the mother goddess. Children, adults, and elderly members all perform the Garba often using sticks which are called ‘Dandiya’. There are two traditional dances, the first is ‘Raas’ when people dance around in a circle that moves, the music can start off slow and then increase in tempo, leading to the Raas dance increasing in pace.  The second is a square dance which uses the dandiya sticks. You dance with a partner opposite and hit their dandiya with yours. The whole group then alternates partners and the circle moves around. Sometimes the two are mixed creating fast and slow dances.

Many achieve complete trance during the dances, and it is not unknown for the spirit of ‘Mata’ to take over certain people.

Depending on the affordability, communities may share a communal meal at the end of Garba every day.

On the ninth day a Puja is offered to the Mother Goddess followed by a feast that concludes the Navratri festival.

Nine colours are associated with Navratri that symbolises a distinct quality of the Mother Goddess.

Whilst the colours remain the same every year, the order varies depending on the day Navratri falls. Here is a list of the Navratri colours for 2023:

  • First Day (15th October) – Pratipada – White- represents peace, purity, and innocence.
  • Second Day (16th October) – Dwitiya – Red- symbolizes action, passion, and perseverance.
  • Third Day (17th October) – Tritiya – Royal Blue- represents power and authority.
  • Fourth Day (18th October) – Chaturthi – Yellow- represents energy, cheerfulness, and luminosity.
  • Fifth Day (19th October) – Panchami – Green- symbolizes relaxation.
  • Sixth Day (20th October) – Shashti – Orange/ Yellow- symbolizes action, passion, and creativity.
  • Seventh Day (21st October) – Saptami – Green/ Blue/ Purple- symbolizes rest, calmness, and wisdom.
  • Eighth Day (22nd October) – Ashtami – Red/ Maroon- is the colour of sacrifice which brings true fulfilment.
  • Ninth Day (23rd October) – Navami – White/ Gold- symbolizes purity, perfection, and prosperity.

Many people choose to dress in these associated colours and healers confirm that the colours act on the different Chakras – the energy centres of the body- and bring about deep healing.

Photos from Sanatan Dharma Mandal and Hindu Community Centre, Cardiff.
Dussehra was on 24 October.

       

25/10/2023

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