Written by Shivani Tailor.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, it is with great regret we will not be able to celebrate a big occasion like Navratri this year. However, the festival is still fast approaching, as of Saturday 17th October 2020.
So, this year it would do no harm to reflect on what this festival is all about. Sure, we all love the dancing, wearing the colourful outfits and showing our moves. However, it is essential for us to know the true meaning that lies within this fun filled occasion.
The main reason that Navratri is celebrated is because it symbolises good over evil. In this festival the Goddess is celebrated. In some Hindu scriptures it is written that Lord Shiva had given permission to Goddess Durga to see her mother for the first time for 9 days in the year, this festival is in memory of this visit.
During this time, many devotees of Goddess Durga observe fasts. This is a very spiritual and religious time for many families and involves in members of the family praying together for the wellbeing and prosperity of their loved ones.
The celebrations that are involved in this consist of the families and communities getting together for dancing and prayers. This is the time when many people in the Hindu families buy new colourful clothes and take part in the rituals and prayers each night for 9 days.
Traditionally, Navratri is a time for new ventures and for a new beginning. This is because it is a time for introspection and in essence to right all the wrongs that one may wish to correct.
The main question which arises is the dances that happen at Navratri.
The Garba is a type of dance that comes from the state of Gujarat in India. This word originally comes from the language Sanskrit: the language that Hindus believe God uses. The implication of this word comes from the womb essentially meaning life.
The Garba is performed around a centrally lit lamp. There are several ways to perform this Gujarati folk dance. The first one is ‘be taali’ (2 claps) and ‘tran taali’ (3 claps). These two are the main two forms of Garba.
Also known as Dandiya, this folk dance is performed with two short sticks in a circle and rhythmic way to folk songs. The reason why sticks are used is because they symbolise the swords that Goddess Durga used during the fight between Durga and a demon king. The dandiya is performed after the Aarti (religious prayer) is conducted.
Navratri is a joyous occasion that is meaningful and also a very enjoyable occasion for everyone to enjoy. Hopefully, our current situation tones down next year where the community is able to come together once again to celebrate this fun-loving occasion.