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!