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
, a vessel symbol-izing the fertile womb, representing the Goddess.Especially in cities in Tamil Nadu, families createelaborate shelf displays, called
, 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.
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.
Dedicating 9 Nights to the Goddess