Navratri, Garba and Dusshera

Navratri 2015 is from today, 13th October, until 22nd October. I have had to do a lot of research on the internet to find out what this festival is about. Zahra’s school has a holiday called Dusshera at the end of next week and it is at the end of the Navratri festival. I thought I’d better find out what it’s all about (with thanks to Dinesh Mapara for pointing me in the right direction.)

It is one of the festivals celebrated across all of India although the celebrations differ with various customs and traditions, rituals and ceremonies. Navratri is a nine day festival celebrated in India to honour the “Mother Goddess” in all her forms. Celebrated twice every year, once in the month Chaitra (March) and then in the month of Ashwin (September-October). The latter consists of the main rituals of placing the idol or image of the Goddess in homes and temples and immersed in water after the nine days of Navratri.

Garba is a dance that originated in the state of Gujarat in India. The name is derived from the Sanskrit Garbha (“womb”) and Deep (“a small earthenware lamp”). Traditional garbas are performed around a centrally lit lamp or a picture or statue of the “Goddess Shakti” during Navaratri. (Thank you Wikipedia for help with that one).

The tenth day of Navratri is known as Dusshera.  This is the day “Lord Rama” defeated “Ravana” and to commemorate the triumph of good over evil an effigy of “Ravana” is burnt along with crackers. It sounds similar to Bonfire Night in the UK – but we’ll see.Interestingly I’ve not seen anything advertising this part of the festival.

In Bangalore we are promised “nine days (and nights) filled with fun, frolic, dance and festivities all around”. There are quite a few events advertised. Some (at the Palace grounds) are invitation only whilst others have tickets for sale (night clubs with DJs) and some community events. It sounds like most events here are aimed at teenagers and young 20 somethings.

We’ll have a venture out this Saturday and see what we can stumble across. Failing that, as Zahra has 3 days off school at the end of next week for this festival, we will try and find something to watch. I don’t think we will be joining in as many events with participants are specifying “traditional dress” and we don’t have anything.

I’ll post another blog on our experiences if we get to something.


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