You know Navratri is a widely celebrated festival in India. But did you know that how and why it's celebrated is different in every region? We've rounded up some of these fascinating facts
1. Ravan Dahan
In north India, large effigies of the demon king Ravana are burned, celebrating Rama’s victory and the triumph of good over evil. “Best venues to watch Ravan Dahan” becomes a trending google search around this time!
2. Garba & Dandiya
In western India, Navratri is celebrated through community dances, particularly garba and dandiya. A lamp symbolising the goddess is kept in the centre. Men, women and children in colourful clothes dance around the lamp in circles. It’s energetic and super fun!
3. Pujo Pandals
In the eastern part of the country, Navratri is Durga Puja — a celebration of the victory of the goddess over the demon Mahishasura. Pandals are set up in each locality with beautiful idols, illumination, music, and delicious prasad. On the tenth day of Vijayadasami, the clay sculptures of the goddess are given a watery send-off!
4. Bommai Golu
In the south, particularly in Tamil Nadu, Navratri is celebrated with an elaborate display of dolls. Often arranged by theme or mythological stories, these golu displays are unique to the particular family’s traditions. Women and children are invited to each other’s homes and given tamboolams and sundal (a delicious lentil-based dish) varieties.
5. Ayudha Puja
Usually celebrated on the ninth day of Navratri, this literally means “worship of tools”. All tools of livelihood, from vehicles and machinery to musical instruments, books and stationery are cleaned, decorated and kept in front of the gods for a day of rest, thanks, and contemplation. This puja is prevalent in Karnataka, Kerala and parts of Maharashtra.
In Kerala, the tenth day of Navratri or Vijaya Dasami, is the day of vidyarambham or ‘beginning of education’. On this day, young children aged 3-4 are initiated into learning. A family elder holds their finger and helps them trace alphabets on a plate of uncooked rice! It’s also considered the best day to start learning anything new.