Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Navarathri - Hindu Festivals ...

Because we have been learning all about different celebrations, Manvi and her mum thought we might enjoy learning all about another Indian festival called Navratri (Durga Pooja).  This upcoming festival starts on the 14th October (today) and continues for several days ending on the 22nd October.  The following day (the 10th day) is Dussehra.

Nava means nine and ratri means night-time .. thus 'Nine Divine Nights'.

Navarathri are popular Hindu festivals.  There are four different kinds of Navarathri festivals celebrated at different times of the year.  Ashada Navarathri is in June-July, Saratha Navarathri in September-October, Magha Navarathri in January-February and Vasantha Navarathri in March-April.  Saratha Navarathri (also called Maha Navaratri) is the most important.  

All nine days of navarathri are dedicated to nine forms of the Goddess Shakti and culminates on the tenth day with Dussehra.  

People celebrate navarathri by:
Fasting - not eat meat, grain, wheat, onion or drink alcohol);
Dancing - Garba is a dance which people perform on all nine nights after the Durga Pooja;
Worshiping statues - people make enormous statues of Durga (Goddess) and worship her.  After nine days the statues are immersed in water;
Kanya Puja - celebrated on the 9th day of Navaratri;
Eating special food - on the 9th day people make suji halwa (semolina pudding), puri, chanas and khee to offer the goddess or the children being worshipped in Kanya Puja.

The tenth day of the Navaratri festival is known as Dussehra (Vijaya Dushami, Dasara). 20 days of Dussehra marks the Festival of Light (Diwali).  We are learning about Diwali in week 3.

Tomorrow Manvi is going to tell the class one of the stories behind Dussehra.

To read another online, click here.

You can watch one of the stories in the link below too.

Durga Devi, also known as Mahishasura Mardini or Chamundi (Durga)

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