September 26, 2006

Navarathri Kondattam


Here are nine regional highlights, based on my exposure and experience, on the festival which celebrates my namesake- Durga. Those from the specific region are welcome to correct/ enhance my perception.

Bengal
One has to be here to enjoy Dassera with the aplomb that borders on a mass movement - public pandals and feeding- it is on the same scale as Ganapathi in Mumbai. Almost a carnival with the aartis around huge idols of Kali/ Durga Maa. (Drawn from memories as a 10 yr old)
"Pandals spark off romance, also marriage bureau. Bengalis by & large close the kitchen for the 10 days that they spend in the pandal."- Courtesy itchy

Bihar/ UP
The burning of The Ravan Effigy & you can enjoy gambling (no frowns-no chiding)
"Ramlila is enacted by the Eunuch community mostly. More often than not, the same fellow who played Ram will do the Ravan jalaana on the 10th Day"- Courtesy itchy

Karnataka
Possibly synonymous with the grandeur of Mysore Palace on Vijaya Dashmi day, this is rather like the Tamil Dassera minus the Gollu

Gujarat
What else but dandiya raas and Garba- lovely chaniya cholis on graceful and energetic maidens (not so) coyly looking around at equally colourfully dressed young men ( a surrogate marriage bureau) I always looked forward to this the two years that I spent in Gujarat.. No prizes for guessing why.

Mumbai
Falguni Patak and various sabhas and samithis which compete to Bollywoodise dandiya and certain bodies trying to impose time limits on the festivities

Tamil Nadu
It is all about sundal, Gollus in Kanjeepuram saris and paavadias. Rehearsing to sing at these gollus also comes to mind. And of course, Saraswathi Puja when we can legally not-study. Andhra is similar but more sweets than sundals.

Indians in the US of A
They are likely to have enough Indian friends to meet up, dressed in fine ethnic wear, reminiscing what lovely times they had back home with amma- paati/naani's cooking.

My way this year
Anush was too little last yr and I spent Dassera by singing a lot of songs for her. This year will be her full initiation if all goes as planned-
Visit a friend for Gollu. Wonder if she will have the Marapaachi bommais of yore? Eager to eat the sundal in any case ( hope it is brown channa )
There is also a dandiya raas invite . Have a nice ghaagra for that occasion for Anush.
And of course there will be Saraswathi pooja at home.

Rest of the World
Where Dassera is unknown should probably visit this informative blog I chanced upon. Indian Culture- http://indiatemple.blogspot.com. An extract-
" 9 types of rangoli are made at home for each day.
Day 1: Rangoli is made with dots
Day 2: Rangoli is made with squares
Day 3: Rangoli is made with flowers (lotus, rose etc)
Day 4: Rangoli is made with steps (like gollu puja)
Day 5: Rangoli is made with birds
Day 6: Rangoli is made with one of the names of Shakti
Day 7: Rangoli is made with Vittarani (designs from the palm of the Goddess's hands, like shanka, flowers etc)
Day 8: Rangoli patterns with the trishul (trident) she holds in her hand
Day 9: Rangoli is made with Hridaya Kamalam (Lotus of her heart)

8 comments:

itchingtowrite said...

bengal- pandals spark off romance, also marriage bureau. Bengalis by & large close the kitchen for the 10 days that they spend in the pandal. schools are closed during this time in north india.Bengalis buy 5-6 stes of dresses during aamaar Poojo. (our puja festival)

Ramlila- ramayan story is played by Eunuch community mostly- bihar/ UP etc. the penultimate day- when Lord Ram comes back to ayodhya, there will be aatishbaaji / fireworks organised. more often than not, the same fellow who played Ram will do the ravan jalaana - burning effigy of ravan, kumbhkaran & meghnaad on the 10th day.

PS- also a time for donating chandaa ( people who are going to put up pandaal will collect donations door to door). remember to preserve the voucher as they sometimes come for repeat visit hoping we won't remember!!

artnavy said...

Thanks- will update on the post...

Uma Gowrishankar said...

Hi artnavy,
Thanks for visiting me. Your blog on navarathri is interesting, more so the one on your visit to the restaurant on East Coast Road.

Every place has got its own flavour, this gets enhanced during festival time. I had lived in Baroda for over five years, during navarathri people there become nocturnal - they are up till two in the night. They dance and dance all through the nine nights and do not drop dead. While in places like Mumbai, Baroda, Calcutta festivals like navarathri are communal, it is more a private affair in Chennai.

artnavy said...

Tnx and welcome Uma. U r right about the communal vs private bit. See you again.

Hip Grandma said...

nice sum up.I don't think Ram lila is performed in Bihar.It is a UP thing.At least I've not heard of Ram lila in South Bihar now Jharkhand.That was a nice list abt rangolis.

starry nights said...

Nice informative post. thanks for sharing.

itchingtowrite said...

Hip grandma- ramlila does happen in Ranchi... as kids we used to spend every evening there eating groundnuts, at times sitting on the rooftop of the car, then catching bad sore throat/ cold due to the winters

Has to be me said...

Thats a lovely post! Navrathri is indeed such a lovely kondattam & the festivity is in the air all the time for those 9 days! Nice time to socialize & eat different items too :)