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Navaratri Hindu Festival

Navaratri Hindu Festival

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The Magic of Hindu Festivals

Hinduism is celebratory by nature. Hindus miss no opportunity to set mundane matters aside and join with family, friends, neighbors and strangers alike to feast and have fun, to renew the home and the heart and, most importantly, draw nearer to God.

Festivals are perhaps more impressive and varied in Hinduism than in any other religion. The devout Hindu knows these are times of profound mysticism, when God and the Gods touch our world, revitalize our souls, lighten karmas and bless our families. Yet festivals do even more than this: they are essential to the perpetuation of religion, periodically reigniting the spark of zeal and devotion in the community. They provide the spiritual public square where Hindus engage with one another, affirming shared values and enjoying life's intersections.

Before each celebration, vows are taken, scriptures are studied, pilgrimages are trodden and fasts observed in preparation--all individual acts of intimate devotion that bring the devotee closer to the Gods and keep him on the path to his inmost Self. As each festival begins, solitary adoration becomes a collective ritual, with millions of people taking their places in an ad-hoc choreography. Tradition is followed but the result is never the same; every festival is special and unforgettable in its own way.

Thus the Hindu is reminded of his faith by the sounds, scents and the wild medley of tastes laid out for the feast. His mind and emotions are imbued with Hinduism as sacred mantra prayers are intoned, the spiritual teachings are recounted by saints and the Gods are praised in melodious bhajans.

Each state of India, indeed each village, lends a little of its unique culture to how a festival is celebrated, creating almost endless variations. But recently, with the growing Hindu population outside of India, festivals have acquired an international dimension. They provide a window into Hinduism for the non-Hindu populations in countries as far flung as Norway, Chile and Canada. At the same time, for Hindus immersed in foreign and often very alien cultures, festivals are the most visible and memorable sign of their heritage. Celebrated with unmatched fervor but with paced regularity, festivals serve as a reminder of one's identity and allegiance to Hindu traditions and ideals.

What could be more entertaining, alive, vibrant and yet pious and rich in symbolism than a Hindu festival? Professor Dr. Shiva Bajpai remarked that it is through festivals that most Hindus experience their religion: "Festivals, pilgrimages and temple worship are the faith armor of Hindus."
The Magic of Hindu Festivals

Hinduism is celebratory by nature. Hindus miss no opportunity to set mundane matters aside and join with family, friends, neighbors and strangers alike to feast and have fun, to renew the home and the heart and, most importantly, draw nearer to God.

Festivals are perhaps more impressive and varied in Hinduism than in any other religion. The devout Hindu knows these are times of profound mysticism, when God and the Gods touch our world, revitalize our souls, lighten karmas and bless our families. Yet festivals do even more than this: they are essential to the perpetuation of religion, periodically reigniting the spark of zeal and devotion in the community. They provide the spiritual public square where Hindus engage with one another, affirming shared values and enjoying life's intersections.

Before each celebration, vows are taken, scriptures are studied, pilgrimages are trodden and fasts observed in preparation--all individual acts of intimate devotion that bring the devotee closer to the Gods and keep him on the path to his inmost Self. As each festival begins, solitary adoration becomes a collective ritual, with millions of people taking their places in an ad-hoc choreography. Tradition is followed but the result is never the same; every festival is special and unforgettable in its own way.

Thus the Hindu is reminded of his faith by the sounds, scents and the wild medley of tastes laid out for the feast. His mind and emotions are imbued with Hinduism as sacred mantra prayers are intoned, the spiritual teachings are recounted by saints and the Gods are praised in melodious bhajans.

Each state of India, indeed each village, lends a little of its unique culture to how a festival is celebrated, creating almost endless variations. But recently, with the growing Hindu population outside of India, festivals have acquired an international dimension. They provide a window into Hinduism for the non-Hindu populations in countries as far flung as Norway, Chile and Canada. At the same time, for Hindus immersed in foreign and often very alien cultures, festivals are the most visible and memorable sign of their heritage. Celebrated with unmatched fervor but with paced regularity, festivals serve as a reminder of one's identity and allegiance to Hindu traditions and ideals.

What could be more entertaining, alive, vibrant and yet pious and rich in symbolism than a Hindu festival? Professor Dr. Shiva Bajpai remarked that it is through festivals that most Hindus experience their religion: "Festivals, pilgrimages and temple worship are the faith armor of Hindus."

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Sanatana Dharma Foundation on Mar 19, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/10/2013

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What do Hindus do for Navaratri?
Navaratri starts on the new moon of September/October. On the
rst day, it is customary to plantseeds in a clay pot which will sprout over the nextnine days. In some communities, women preparea specially decorated
kalasha
, a vessel symbol-izing the fertile womb, representing the Goddess.Especially in cities in Tamil Nadu, families createelaborate shelf displays, called
kolu
, of handmadeclay dolls. Adding new dolls each year and handingthe collection down to the next generation resultsin some grand displays.
How is Navaratri observed in homes?
Each night, the Goddess “holds court,” and specialfood offerings are presented as prayers eulogiz-ing Her powers are chanted. Guests are invited toshowcase their artistic skills, and all enjoy sweetsand other treats. Women dress up and visit femalefriends and relatives, taking a tray of offeringswhich includes the betel leaf and nut that bear thegravity of a formal contract of friendship and loy-alty. Other items on the tray—beauty accessories,fresh turmeric root and coconut—symbolize good-will and fertility. They fast, pray morning and eve-ning, and give food and cooking pots to the poor.Some families formally honor a prepubescent girleach day, giving her new clothes, treating her to asumptuous lunch, and pampering her, af 
rmingher femininity and af 
nity with the Goddess.
M
illions of Hindu women consider Navaratri the year’s centralfestival, the one they most deeply connect to. These nine daysdedicated to Shakti, the Goddess, provide an opportunity toseek blessings and commune with their own divinity. It is a time forsacred gatherings, austerities, sel
ess acts and intimate prayers. ButNavaratri is not just for the ladies; everyone turns out for the joyousworship, festivities, plays, feasting and dance—all venerating God asthe loving Mother Spirit that gives life to everything.
www.dinodia.comwww.dinodia.com
Navaratri
Dedicating 9 Nights to the Goddess

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