NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Navaratri from PHP and How its Celebrated All Over the World

By Gopinath Kumar Rajput (Executive Director)
Monday, October 11, 2010

USA : Navaratri, a festival dedicating nine nights of ardent devotion to the Goddess, is being celebrated since the new moon of October 5.

Millions of Hindu women consider Navaratri the year’s central festival, the one they most deeply connect to. These nine days dedicated to Shakti, the Goddess, provide an opportunity to seek blessings and commune with their own divinity. It is a time for sacred gatherings, austerities, selfless acts and intimate prayers. But Navaratri is not just for the ladies; everyone turns out for the joyous worship, festivities, plays, feasting and dance–all venerating God as the loving Mother Spirit that gives life to everything.

What do Hindus do for Navaratri?
Navaratri starts on the new moon of September/October. On the first day, it is customary to plant seeds in a clay pot which will sprout over the next nine days. In some communities, women prepare a specially decorated kalasha, a vessel symbolizing the fertile womb, representing the Goddess. Especially in cities in Tamil Nadu, families create elaborate shelf dis- plays, called kolu, of handmade clay dolls. Adding new dolls each year and handing the collection down to the next generation results in some grand displays.

How is Navaratri observed in homes?
Each night, the Goddess “holds court,” and special food offerings are presented as prayers eulogizing Her powers are chanted. Guests are invited to showcase their artistic skills, and all enjoy sweets and other treats. Women dress up and visit female friends and relatives, taking a tray of offerings which includes the betel leaf and nut that bear the gravity of a formal contract of friendship and loyalty. Other items on the tray–beauty aaccessories, fresh turmeric root and coconut–symbolize goodwill and fertility. They fast, pray morning and evening, and give food and cooking pots to the poor. Some families formally honor a prepubescent girl each day, giving her new clothes, treating her to a sumptuous lunch, and pampering her, affirming her femininity and affinity with the Goddess.

Read more about Navaratri in the Hindu Festivals for the Media project here. Help your community understand your Hindu celebrations by downloading a free pdf and taking it to your local newspaper. Navaratri is sure to catch the attention of your western friends and colleagues: no other religion celebrates the Feminine Divinity like Hinduism does.

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