With the festive season approaching, the whole atmosphere becomes lively and vibrant. Markets abuzz with colors and decorations in full bloom. It is all happiness and gaiety around. People go shopping, dress in beautiful clothes and visits family and friends.
The feeling of festivity begins with Navratri. With Navratri just a few days away, it is that time of the year when people welcome the nine Goddesses in all their fervor. Navratri brings non-stop fun for nine days and being one of the most popular festivals of the country, it is celebrated by people all across the nation and even outside. The nine days are spent dancing, keeping fasts, with kirtans, bhajans and a lot more.
These days are considered so auspicious that if any body has to buy a property, car or anything which is important, they plan and buy during these days as these days are considered pious and auspicious. Even many weddings occur during these days.
Celebrated in the honor of Durga, dance and music is the most important part about Navratri. The literal translation of Navratri is nine nights and in all these nine days Durga is worshiped in al its manifestations.
Brahma is said to have mentioned in the Markandey Purana that the very first incarnation of Shakti was Shailputri, where as the other incarnations were Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri and the incarnations happened in this order. And today it is these nine forms of Durga that are worshiped by people from all across the nation during Navratri.
The nine incarnations are known as Nava Durga. The Shiva Purana also has a detailed description of these nine divine incarnations of Durga. The most important ritual or tradition followed during Navratri is the reciting of Gayatri Mantra and Durga stuti. It is believed since the Vedic Age that Gayatri Anushthana as it is called is auspicious during Navratri. People send navratri wishes to their friends and family.
The navratri shayari sessions are also held at places with a lot of enthusiasm.
People from all walks of life pray and worship during navratras. They keep fasts all nine days worshiping the nine manifestations of Goddess.
Each of these manifestations of Durga has a meaning and history attached to it. each day has its own significance and a story which narrates how Goddess won good over evil.
The garba or dandiya dance which is popular dance of Gujarat is done during these days. The estival looks incomplete without this. women are decked up in stunning traditional clothes which is also known as ghagra choli. This is an amazing sight. Dandiya is performed in dedication to Durga and as history tells the dance is a mock representation of the fight between Goddesses and Mahishasura who was a demon killed by Durga.
The dance is usually performed in circular form. The circle means the Hind perspective of time and life. Life keeps progressing from birth to life, then death and rebirth. But in this the whole process, the only thing that remains constant is the Goddess or any divine form. It is one of the most colorful dance forms.