15 Oct

Navaratri is the festival of nine nights (well, ten if you include the last day of dasami pooja) celebrated in different parts of India in varying traditions. Durga Pooja in the East, Dussehra in the North and Golu in South are some of the forms in which these nine days are celebrated. Whatever the form may be, these 9 days promote Devi (Goddess) worship and the underlying message is the victory of good over evil.

Navaratri commences on the day-after Mahalaya Amavasya and celebrated for the next nine nights, culminating on Vijayadasami (literally means victorious tenth day). The tenth and final day is considered auspicious, especially for new beginnings. Hence, it is customary to start a new business or enroll in a new class or even school, on this day.

In South India, especially Tamil Nadu, this festival is celebrated as Golu, where dolls are arranged on steps (usually odd in number) and invite family / friends over to accept tamboolam. With changing times, the contents of the tamboolam has changed too – as a kid, I remember the contents of the tamboolam would be betel leaves, betel nut, turmeric, kunguma simizh (small kumkum container), a small hand mirror and a small comb along with a pack of sundal. My mom used to add a blouse-bit (aside: hawkeye’s take on blouse-piece here) to the contents for elders. These days I think, most of us have done away with the mirror – comb – container combo tradition and add a small generic gift instead.

Golu pictures

Arranging dolls on the steps, visitors coming over every day, making mouth-watering prasadam (sundal)
on a daily basis – the 9 days are filled with lot of buzz and activities. Goddess in their 3 main forms – Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi are worshiped for 3 days each respectively. On the 9th day, also known as Saraswathi Pooja, an elaborate pooja is performed to Goddess Saraswathi (the goddess of education) praying for success in all endeavors that we are in the midst of or about to begin.

PS: My friend Apar of Random Ruminations, after losing patience with me for not writing one :), wrote a beautiful post on Navaratri and as it is practiced in Tamilnadu with pictures from her golu.


Posted by on October 15, 2008 in Pandigai (Festival)



8 responses to “Navaratri

  1. Apar

    October 15, 2008 at 10:01 PM

    Finally!!! Phew!! :-)) I kept visiting to find out if you have written this or not!! Your kolu looks really nice. What have you made the steps with? Love the elephants, the Vishnu, the white Lingam, the wooden and ceramic dolls on the bottom step..

    Thanks! It was a DIY project with stuff bought from Homedepot. – A-kay

  2. Sangeetha

    October 15, 2008 at 11:34 PM

    Your golu looks fabulous – The chettiyar bommais, the gingantic lamps – Wow! Quite an effort and it looks great. Thanks for sharing the picture.

    Thanks Sangeetha. I love the chettiyar bommais too 🙂 – A-kay

  3. Laksh

    October 16, 2008 at 12:39 AM

    Very nice! Love the picture. Been checking daily for your post 🙂

  4. Maggie

    October 16, 2008 at 4:26 AM

    Nice pic – your sundal,payasam and the maida (whatever it turned out to be) were awesome :)!!
    I think the killer part (what set it apart from the umpteen houses we went to this year) was the cricket set on Astro Turf!
    Most importantly the fielders were in perfect position (made me remnisce of those days when moms used to keep the set as they pleased and boys come screaming into the house to set the “forward short leg” and “gullie” in the correct positions!!)

    Thanks M and I am going with the name “Maida Burfi” – will soon post the recipe in this space. – A-kay

    Wonderful join by K – this time for the steps & the pic!

  5. SPillay

    October 16, 2008 at 7:11 AM

    Very beautiful!!! :Yes:

  6. Suman

    October 16, 2008 at 7:33 PM

    Nice golu!

  7. Mitr

    October 17, 2008 at 5:05 AM

    Finally, the golu post, been waiting for you to write about this. What a pretty golu and lovely snacks, having had the privilege to see the golu and enjoy the snacks. Please do post the recipe of your maida sweet, it was delicious.

    Watch this space; that is my next post, infact. – A-kay

  8. Lakshmi

    October 26, 2008 at 10:35 PM

    Very nice Golu A-kay. Catching up on all your posts now. Looks like I have a lot of catch up to do 🙂


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