Dasara Navaratri 2018: A Celebration of Divine Feminine Power
Dasara Navaratri, also known as Durga Puja, is a vibrant and significant Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm across India and other parts of the world. This auspicious occasion lasts for nine nights and ten days, during which devotees worship various forms of the divine feminine power. In 2018, Dasara Navaratri falls from October 10th to October 18th. This article delves into the significance of this festival, its rituals, and the cultural traditions associated with it.
1. The Legend and Significance:
The festival of Dasara Navaratri holds immense religious and cultural significance. It commemorates the victory of good over evil, symbolized by the triumph of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga was created by the combined powers of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva to defeat Mahishasura, who had unleashed terror on Earth. The festival is a reminder of the power of righteousness and the ultimate victory of good.
During Navaratri, each day is dedicated to a different form of the goddess. The first three days are devoted to Goddess Durga, the next three to Goddess Lakshmi, and the final three to Goddess Saraswati. The tenth day, known as Vijayadashami, marks the triumph of good over evil and is celebrated with great fervor.
2. Rituals and Observances:
Navaratri is a time of intense devotion and spiritual practice. Devotees observe fasts, engage in prayer and meditation, and participate in various religious rituals. The festival begins with the installation of a clay idol or picture of Goddess Durga in homes and temples. Elaborate decorations adorn these idols, and they are worshipped with flowers, incense, and lamps.
One of the most significant rituals during Navaratri is the performance of Garba and Dandiya Raas dances. These energetic and colorful dances involve people forming circles and dancing to traditional music, using small sticks or clapping their hands. The dances are a celebration of joy and unity, as people come together to honor the divine feminine power.
3. Regional Variations:
Navaratri is celebrated with unique regional variations across India. In the state of West Bengal, Durga Puja is the most important festival, where intricately crafted idols of the goddess are worshipped in beautifully decorated pandals (temporary structures). The festival is marked by cultural performances, processions, and grand feasts.
In the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, Navaratri is celebrated as Golu or Bommai Golu. During this time, families display dolls and figurines in a tiered arrangement, representing various deities and mythological characters. Women visit each other’s homes to view the Golu displays and exchange gifts.
4. Cultural Significance:
Navaratri is not only a religious festival but also a celebration of India’s rich cultural heritage. It provides a platform for artists to showcase their talent through music, dance, and drama performances. Many renowned artists and musicians perform during this time, adding to the festive spirit.
The festival also highlights the importance of women in society. The divine feminine power is revered and worshipped during Navaratri, emphasizing the significance of women in various roles – as mothers, daughters, and creators. It serves as a reminder of the strength and resilience of women throughout history.
Dasara Navaratri 2018 is a time for devotees to immerse themselves in devotion, prayer, and celebration. It is a festival that brings people together, transcending regional and cultural boundaries. The rituals, legends, and cultural significance associated with Navaratri make it a truly unique and cherished festival in India. As the country gears up to celebrate this auspicious occasion, the spirit of unity, devotion, and reverence for the divine feminine power will resonate across the land.