September 26, 2006
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.
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
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
Possibly synonymous with the grandeur of Mysore Palace on Vijaya Dashmi day, this is rather like the Tamil Dassera minus the Gollu
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.
Falguni Patak and various sabhas and samithis which compete to Bollywoodise dandiya and certain bodies trying to impose time limits on the festivities
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)