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Navarathri Golu


Article by Sankaran Parthasarathy

 

NAVARATHIRI is considered as an important sacred festival in the Hindu Religion.

In South India, this festival is celebrated as Navarathiri and in Northern States of

India, it is observed as DURGA POOJA.


NAVARATHIRI is derived from Sanskrit as NAVA means NINE and RATHIRI means –

NIGHT. These nine days are dedicated to Goddess Durga’s nine avatars which is

considered auspicious.


History is when Goddess Durga set out to fight an evil asuran (demon) named

Mahishasuran all the other gods helped her to win the battle by giving her their

powers. Without their powers they become dolls leading to the festival of

Navarathiri. This started the tradition of Golu (displaying dolls).


Navrathiri is normally celebrated every year in the autumn – September/October.

In 2022, it will be celebrated between 25th September to 5th October.



These days we even have eco-friendly dolls in the market to be displayed in the Golu.

A day before the festival begins, people usually set up display racks or commonly known as padi (steps) to display their golu. The racks are usually odd numbered and made of wood, metal or fibre. The racks are then covered with silk fabric or custom made covers for the racks in various colours and designs. On the day of the Navarthiri, people usually perform a small pooja and start filling the padi with dolls.


The dolls are usually passed on from one generation to the other as their heirloom. It is also a custom to buy and display at least one new doll every year.

There are a variety of dolls that are famous and can be found in most of the

houses:

● Ashtalakshmi set - A group of 8 dolls depicting the manifestations of

Goddess Lakshmi - Maha Lakshmi, Dhana Lakshmi, Dhanya Lakshmi, Gaja

Lakshmi, Santana Lakshmi, Veera Lakshmi, Vijaya Lakshmi and Vidya

Lakshmi.

● Dasavatharam set - The 10 different avatars of Lord Vishnu in order as -

Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narashimha, Vamana, Parashuram, Rama,

Balarama, Krishna and Kalki.

● Marriage Set.

● Perimal and Thayyar

● Sports set - these are famous in recent times. Sports like Cricket, tennis etc

● Temple set - dolls depicting the Lord Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Lord

Muruga in Palani and Lord Shiva in Tiruvannamalai are the famous ones.

● Park set - Famous in recent times. These are usually to give awareness to

people to look after our nature.


It is traditional and mandatory to keep the Thalaiyatti Bommai (bobble head dolls) of Chettiyar and his wife Chettichi running their business, where we keep small vessels filled with rice, dal and some coins. This depicts the growth and happiness of the family.



Saraswathi Puja - The 9th day of Navarathiri is referred to as the Saraswathi Puja.

On this day, we keep offerings to Goddess Saraswathi, the divine source of

wisdom and enlightenment such as notebooks, books, cash boxes if you are in business, musical instruments tools and decorate it with flowers and jewels.


Vijayadasami / Ayudha Puja - The 10th day of Navarathiri is an auspicious day. On this day, Goddess Durga defeated Mahishasura. Also on this day, in Mahabharatham, Arjunan, the 3rd son of Pandava retrieved his weapon, Kandibham from the Shami Tree after their vanavasa period of 13 years and went to war with Gauravas and gained victory. Since then, it is believed that it is an auspicious day to start any new ventures. People usually give anna prashana (feeding rice for the first time) to small kids on this day. Many people do puja to

their vehicles and offices on this day for more growth and prosperity.


On the night of the Vijayadasami, an arthi is shown to all dolls in the display and

any one doll will be symbolically put to sleep depicting the end of the navarathiri

festival.



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