Baby’s First Navratri 11


Navratri celebrates sacred feminine energy, shakti, over nine divine nights. As it was baby’s first Navratri, I wanted to make it special. On the first night, hundreds of idols of Goddess Durga are welcomed into pandals across the city. A pandal is a temporary tent style temple, built with bamboo and fabric. These nine nights are full of festivities, the pandals play host to music, dance and story telling functions dedicated to the Goddess. During the day, children are found playing in front of the Goddess, handing out prasad (food blessed by the deity) and dancing to music.

We have a small brass Goddess Durga murti (idol) in our home, sat upon a lion, weapons in hand. Every morning, Rohan picked flowers to place in front Durga Maa, with a little help from his Daddy. It was so sweet and the highlight of my Navratri this year.

 

 

Different communities celebrate Navratri in different ways. Here in Maharashtra, it’s popular to celebrate by wearing nine different colours. These colours change every year and I had fun dressing Rohan in the colour of the day. Due to spillages and such, we didn’t always stay in that colour for the entire day.

 

In the evenings, we visited different pandals (pandal hopping, I discovered there is a name for it), making a special effort to visit the Bengali Durga Puja celebration. Durga Puja is always fantastic. Goddess Durga, unlike the Maharashtrian style (in the photo above), stands between Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Ganesh and Kartikeya (the second son of Parvati and Lord Shiva).

Rohan took it all in with his wide-eyed curiosity. He will surely be tottering around pandals next festival season!

 

How could you celebrate Navratri with your kids?

I have thought about how Rohan can get the most out of this festival in the future. Here are some of my ideas:

  • Spotting items which are the same colour as the colour of the day.
  • Discover the different ways different communities celebrate Navratri across India
  • Learning about Goddess mythology from around the world (Greek, Egyptian etc.)
  • Celebrate Kanya Puja on the 8th or 9th day of Navratri. This is where nine little girls are invited to your home and worshiped as the nine forms of Goddess Durga (NavDurga). We had this ceremony at our house a couple of years ago and it was really lovely. Maybe invite a couple of little Krishnas along too!

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About Lauren Mokasdar

Lauren fell in love on the internet, took a one way flight from England, got married & started a new life & bicultural family in India. She writes about finding happiness & balance between two very different worlds, when her baby takes a nap.


11 thoughts on “Baby’s First Navratri

  • Inwards On India

    Hi Lauren. I’ve just re-read your post about the 9 colours of Navratri. Do you find that when you leave your house on a certain colour’s day (let’s say peacock green/pink’s day, which would be my favourite!), how noticible is it? Do you see more women wearing that colour than usual, or is there a sea of that colour and it’s obvious? Or do not enough women take part for it to be noticable? Your pondering about colour therapy is interesting too – I wonder if there’s been research done in this area with regards to India? My own wardrobe certainly changed enormously (colourfully) after my first trip to India and for me colour (amongst many other things) is sonething that contributes to a incredible life-force that I feel in India, that I just don’t feel in my own country.

  • friend

    @Lauren

    Rohan looks so cute, plucking flowers with his tiny hands. Goddess Durga would definitely be pleased with his efforts. God bless him.

    Yes, Pandal hopping, that is the name invented by Bengalis I think. Come Durga Pooja, Bengalis zip around the town from one pandal to another. The area around the Durga Pooja venue has a carnival like atmosphere with people gorging on delicious food. At lunch, kichri is served as Prasad. In my childhood we spent our days and nights at the pandal. With the pre occupations of modern life, it is difficult. The night is meant for lightings, cultural functions and concerts. It is like a whirlwind for Bengalis. Then on the tenth day, it is sadness as the goddess has to leave. It is believed that goddess durga comes to earth to meet her devotees with her family, and on the tenth day she goes back.

    Lauren, next year try visiting the Durga Pooja on the eighth day in the evening when the goddess is worshipped with fire lamps, drums and burned coconut husk. It is a beautiful pooja. The legend behind it is as follows

    http://hindupad.com/sandhi-puja-story-importance/

    The Kanya Pooja and its delicacies were great fun too when we were children. My sister got a handful of money from her visits our neighbors.

    On the tenth day that is Dussehara, Goddess is about to leave in the morning and Bengali women smear each other with sindor, which is great fun. That is also a spectacle seen to be believed. Durga Pooja comes and goes like a gust of air, by the time we realize it is gone, waiting for the next year.

  • joydeep ghosh

    hi lauren a small info for you, in bengal the durga puja is celebrated with basically 2 types of protima or idols, one is the normal idol where all 5 idols of durga, ganesh, saraswati, laxmi, kartik are placed in a ‘single frame’ called ‘ek chala’ which is the traditional way and the other is modern style where all the idols stand separately. happy pandal hopping but dont dare to visit kolkata during durga puja or you will be hopping mad instead of pandal hopping 🙂

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