Thursday, October 13, 2016

Navarathri In Tamilnadu and Kerala

In Tamil Nadu  Golu doll arrangements are the biggest highlight of Navarathri where various dolls are being arranged in wooden steps by women and kids.

 It varies from 3 to 11. Kids are generally very excited being part of the arrangement of different kinds of dolls which include Gods, Goddesses, businessmen, common toys and sometimes machines as well. There are instances where people add different themes to these arrangements to give it a variety.

People invite each other to see the Golu and offer prasadam which is offered to God that day along with some gifts to women and kids. Prasadam is especially high protein dish called sundal or some other puleses (dals). Women offers prayer singing slokas, bhajans or songs every morning and evening followed by 9 days.

Women, kids and guests who visit the Golu are in their best attire (mostly traditional). 
 The gift bag contains Betel leaves, betel nuts, pair of turmeric roots, coconut, any fruit, sweets, flowers and a small gift . Usually an eye kohl, kumkum, bangle, comb ,mirror, cloth bit etc are given. For kids it can be small toy, color pencils and color books. 

 In Kerala , people celebrate the last three days of Navratri as the most auspicious days. The last three days of the Navaratri are called Durgashtami, Mahanavami and Vijayadasami. 
Godess Durga,  Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped as three different manifestations of Shakti, or cosmic energy. On the Durgashtami day a ceremony called Poojavaipu is performed in the evening . On the eve of Poojavaipu all studies and work are suspended.  I was brought up in kerala and during my childhood as kids we were the most excited as we had to keep our books in the temple for pooja and we are not supposed to read or write. The pooja marks the beginning of learning and work. The following day is known as Mahanavami and it is totally devoted to the worship of Goddess Saraswati. Pooja is performed both in the morning and in the evening.

 On vijayadasami day kids are happy to receive books back from temple after pooja along with Prasad which are beaten rice, roasted paddy (malar), jaggery mixed with coconut. At this auspicious moment the children for the first time are given instructions to write the first few alphabets on rice or sand. This is called `Ezhuthinu Iruthu' or 'Vidyarambham' and according to custom only after this ceremony child becomes entitled to write or read.On the tounge of the child the letters "Hari Shree Ganapataye Namaha Avignamastu" which means

" Salutations to Hari(Lord Vishnu),Shree(Godess of prosperity),and Lord Ganesh"


                                              A photo from Mookambika temple
Artists who keep their musical instruments(Veena, Violin, flute etc) for pooja will take it on vijayadasami day and offer some music  to Goddess Saraswathi. 

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