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Navrathri- Shubh Arambh..

          Navarathri is a festival conducted to praise the womanhood in the form of Maa Devi Sakthi. On Every year during the lunar month of Karthikai (September-October), Navarathri is celebrated. As name depicts, “Nava-rathri” literally means “nine nights”. In Hinduism these nine days are dedicated to our supreme mother goddess and ceremonies, rituals, fasts and feasts are conducted to honor her. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Sakthi Devi are worshiped. And on the 10th day of Vijayadashami Sakthi succeeds over all evilness.
Navarathri starts on the day of “Mahalaya” and ends with the “Vijayadashami.” Mahalaya is an auspicious event observed seven days before the Maha ashtami / Durga Puja
Story of “Mahisasura Mardini”
The Annihilation of the Demon Mahisasuran.
Once there lived a demon king Mahisasura due to his increased cruelty of against the gods and Indra. Gods were not able to tolerate his dictatorship so the gods pleaded to Lord Vishnu to destroy the demon. But due to the boon given by Lord Shiva that only a lady can defeat him the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva went together to Jaganmatha a female form with ten arms – A Mahamaya, the Mother of the Universe who embodies the primeval source of all power.
The gods then bestow upon this Supreme creation their individual blessings and weapons. Armed like a warrior, the goddess rides on a lion to battle with the Mahisasura. After Nine days of severe battle the Maa was able to slay the ‘Asura’ king with her trident AND CALLED AS “MAHISAURAMARDHINI”.
Another version is that celebration of victory of war against Rama over ravana
Navarathri is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses on the each day we have to worship each form of Sakthi of the Nine forms..
1. Parvathy—1st-3rd day  click here to know more about the forms, puja methods and slogas for Devi Parvathy.
2. Lakshmi—4th- 6th day
3. Saraswathy—7th -9th day
10th day for Mookambiga ( Combo of all the three Godessess)
 
An Universal Festival
All Hindus celebrate this festival at the same time in different ways in different parts of India as well as around the world.
In the northern part of the country, the first nine days of this festival, called Navaratri, is commonly observed as a time for rigorous fast, and followed by celebrations on the tenth day. With both men and women participate in a special kind of dance called DANDIYARAS.
In the south Navarathri with golu, ayudha puja and vidyarambham are highlights.
In the east, with people the Garba Dance of Gujarat, Ramlila of Varanasi, Dussera of Mysore, and Durga Puja of Bengal need special mention.
Dandia Dance
           People spend the nine nights of Navaratri in singing, and dancing. “Dandia” dance, in which men and women participate in pairs with small, decorated bamboo sticks called dandias in their hands. At the end of these dandias are tied tiny bells called Ghungroos that make a jingling sound when the sticks hit one another.
 
Ramlila
          It is a festival to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and marks the defeat and death of the demon king Ravana in the epic Ramayana. Huge effigies of Ravana are burnt amidst the bangs and booms of firecrackers.
 
Bommai Golu
 

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     During Navratri, it is main custom in Tamil Nadu to display a “Golu”. This is an exhibition of various dolls and figurines in odd numbered tiers called “Padis”.
         Generally, when people come home to see the Golu, they are given prasadam, kumkum and a small bag of gifts. In the evenings, a lamp is lit, before the Golu and devotional hymns and slokas are chanted. After performing the puja, small kids dressed will exhibit their talents and later the food items that is prepared, are offered to the Goddesses and distributed to everyone.
         In the evening of “Vijayadasami“, any one doll from the “Golu” is symbolically has to be put onto sleep and the Kalasam is moved a bit towards North to mark the end of that year’s. Then the Golu is dismantled and packed up for the next year.

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