Navarathri – A Celebration Of Women Empowerment!

Indian festivals are known for their grandure. But, do you know the significance behind the celebration of these festivals? NAVARATHRI is one of the festivals which is exclusively celebrated by women of all ages throughout India. Let me tell you a little bit about how and why we celebrate this festival.

Navarathri means nine nights. It is a celebration of goddess DURGA’s victory over the monster MAHISHASURA. The way we celebrate this festival differs depending on the region you live in. It’s also mentioned as Durga Puja, Dussehra, Dasara in other parts of India. Each day of Navarathri is assigned with a particular colour to signify the manifestations of Goddess Durga. Every year, the order of the colours change according to the moon’s cycle {it’s called Thithi in Hindu panchang} Here is the grid for this year!

My Navarathri Colour Grid

The first day, is all about inviting the divine mother into our home. We tidy up the place, decorate our home, Pooja room with colourful flowers, pretty decor and draw beautiful kolams (rangolis). As you all know, I’m very passionate about drawing kolams in our front yard. I’m so excited to share some of my kolams I drew this year in Navarathri colours.

My Navarathri Kolams

In South India we dedicate these nine days to three powerful goddesses

First three days are for MAHA SAKTHIGoddess of Power – she bestows you with enormous courage and strength to endure life’s challenges.

The second quarter is for MAHA LAKSHMI Goddess of Wealth – she bestows you with abundance and prosperity.

The third quarter is for SARASWATHYGoddess of Knowledge and arts – she bestows you with skills to excel in education, trade, arts and music.

Mupperum Deviyar – Beautiful Indian Goddesses

During these nine days, we invite women of all ages and little girls for a Pooja to sing songs, dance Kolattam {a synchronised dance with sticks- dandiya} recite slogams {chants} in praise of the goddesses. We also visit friends and relatives to see GOLU, a beautiful arrangement of dolls. On these nine days, we dress up in pretty dresses and adorn ourselves with beautiful jewellery and fresh flowers to feel good about ourselves. Since this festival highlights the importance of being a women, we make it a huge celebration! This is the time we get to showcase our talents in music and arts. We support entrepreneurs who make gift hampers, homemade sweets and snacks and handmade crafts for this event.

Navarathri OOTD (outfit of the day)

Every day, we make a Sweet or a Savoury version of SUNDAL {a salad made specially with a particular type of cooked beans, mung beans, green peas, chickpeas, etc} as Prasadam (offering) which we also offer to our guests. Here is one of those Sundals I made which was a crowd pleaser.

Thenga Manga Pattani Sundal Green peas & mango salad.

The ninth day is celebrated as Saraswathy Pooja/ Ayuthapooja in South India. Since she is the goddess of purity, we wrap up our children’s books, pens, pencils with a pure white cloth in a beautiful bundle and place it in front of her, to be blessed. We also keep our musical instruments and tools of the trade.

Sacred Bundle Of Books

It’s a southern tradition to offer THAMBULAM to our guests during Navarathri in order to thank them for their participation. It is considered very auspicious to give and to receive thambulam.

These are the traditional things we offer in a thambulam

    Betel leaves/nuts and Bananas
    Turmeric and Kumkum
    Boondhi – a traditional sweet
    Malligai – Jasmine flowers
    Take home gift.
    I chose this beautiful Kuber oil lamp, a perfect gift for Deepavali, which is to follow very soon!

My Traditional Thambulam Plate

The tenth day of celebration is called Vijayadasami. It marks the victory over the dark force. On this day she is portrayed as fierce 🔱 Goddess Durga Devi with 10 hands holding weapons given to her by all the mighty gods who were not able to kill the monster. It’s a manifestation of all three goddesses coming together as one force to kill Mahishasura.

Vijaya means victory, we southinidans believe anything we start on this day brings victory to us. This day is celebrated as Vidhyarambam a ceremony performed at home or at the temple. Small children, who are about to start schooling that year are made to write the holy symbol Om 🕉 on a plate of rice with the help of their parents. Anybody who wants to learn to dance, sing or play an instrument, start their first lesson on this day. If you wish to start a new business, build a house, buy gold, invest money, start a new venture, this is the perfect day to start the ground work!

I stared writing this post on this auspicious day to get back to blogging again. Since I took a long break due to our move. It was such fun to be a part of these festivities after decades. My kids really enjoyed it! They were so happy that the schools here close down for all ten days to enjoy the festivities. Their school hosted a wonderful Navarathri event, they went in traditional attire, did crafts to decorate their sticks, and danced their heart out. The community we live in also hosted a beautiful Navratri celebrations.

This is the kolam I drew on the 10th day of celebration called Dasara. It has all nine colours in harmony and an additional magenta colour to commemorate ⚜️victory and women power.

Like goddess Durga, we women also take on nine roles in our life time as a Mother, Daughter, Sister, Wife, Aunt, Daughter in law, Sister in law, Mother in law, Grandma and a GREAT GRANDMA who has the wisdom of mastering these roles. My kids were so blessed to know their great grandma who was known for her resilience, self reliance and her amazing cooking skills.

I believe the ten hands of GODDESS DURGA depicts the multitasking ability of women. It magnifies their efficiency and their innate quality as a provider, protector, care taker, home maker, educator, mentor and so on.

Of all the festivals we celebrate, this one is my favourite since it’s a celebration of womanhood and femininity. All this fun and frolic is just to boost up our confidence and make us feel appreciated. I dedicate this post to all those inspiring women in my life who moulded me to be the person that I’m now and I’m very grateful for that!

Hope you all enjoyed this post and got to know a little bit about our rich culture and traditions and the strong reason behind celebrating these festivals.

Hold on! the celebrations are not over yet, these ten days of intense festivities are just a prelude to the following Festival of Lights. Yes! We are gearing up for DEEPAVALI!

Here is pic to get you into the festive mood!

✨May ⚜️Goddess SARASWATHY bless you with amazing skills!

⚜️Goddess LAKSHMI shower you with Happiness and Prosperity!

⚜️Goddess DURGA bring success in all your endeavours!

HAPPY DIWALI from my family to yours! ✨✨

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Published by LATHA

All images and content ©️www.savvysouthindian.com

2 Comments Add yours

  1. InspiresN says:

    wonderful and informative post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Diwali. Beautiful pictures 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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