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- The festival of nine nights is one of the most prominent festivals
of Hinduism dedicated to chiefly Mother Durga an incarnation of Goddess
Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. This is the most pious and pure
time in the complete Hindu calendar. These nine nights are dedicated
to the three main goddesses of Hinduism - Parvati, Lakshmi and Sarasvati.
The first three nights are dedicated to the goddess of action and energy.
Her different manifestations viz Kumari, Parvati and Kali are worshipped
during these days.
Lakshmi is worshipped for the next three days in her various aspects
as the goddesses of peace, plenty and bliss. Fulfillment is more important
than wealth itself. As the goddess of wealth, Goddess Lakshmi bestows
wealth, success and fame and fortune to her worshippers and devotees.
The four hands of Goddess Lakshmi indicate that she has the power to
bestow on humanity the four ends of human life. In one hand she holds
a lotus flower - reminding us of ever-lasting life and the immortality
of the soul. The other hand that holds another lotus symbolizes to us
to detach ourselves from too much of the worldly power, position, considerations,
etc. Another hand holds what symbolizes material wealth, prosperity
which are to be used as a means / tools for the achievements or goal
in life; while the other hand, the fourth one is shown open and pointing
downward, showering wealth and reinforcing the message of sharing.
this Festival is celebrated in a most unique and unusual way. The Garba
or Dandiya Raas is the most significant feature during the festival
of Navratri. This is the traditional and folk dance of the state of
Gujarat, but today, people throughout the country perform this dance
with great fervor and enthusiasm. During the dance, a decorated pot
is ceremoniously placed with a light inside and the women folk dance
in a circle, singing 'traditional songs' or 'garbas'. Then there is
a pooja on each day of this holy period where Goddess Durga, known in
this state as Ambe Maa is worshiped for prosperity and happiness. The
word "Garba" by which the pot as well as the dance is known is etymologically
close to the word Garbha meaning womb. In this context the lamp in the
pot, symbolically represent life within a womb. The Dandiya Raas or
the dance as this is called is played with dandiyas or wooden sticks.
Apart from Gujarat, Dandiya Raas and Garba's is a common feature in
all over India and especially in cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodra
and Surat. The women wear their vibrant, mirror-work ghaghras and cholis
in different styles and the men in their traditional attire; play garba
to traditional and rhythmic songs.