Some 500 Gujarati families residing in Botswana this week joined the rest of the world to celebrate the Navaratri festival of worship and dance with their friends. Navaratri is celebrated as a festival of dance in Gujarat, a state located on the west coast of India and renowned as a hub for trade and commerce for over 5000 years.The festival has gained prominence all over the world wherever these enterprising business-minded people are found.
Leena Desai, the Chairperson of the Gujarati Society told BG Style Monday evening during the Gujarat Day celebrations at Maharaj Conference Centre in Gaborone that Navaratri simply means nine nights in Sanskrit. Nava means nine while Ratri means nights.
She said during these nine nights the Gujarati folk dancers perform various dance rituals (shakti/Devi) with much fervour and gusto to worship the Deity of woman power, Mother Mahisasura-mardini (Durga). The festival was held in Gaborone at the Hindu temple in Maru-a-Pula.Information sourced from Wikipedia, shows that the nine night’s festival of Navratri begins on the first day of Ashwina of the bright fortnight.
The festival comes to an end on the tenth day of Vjay Dashmi or Dussehra, when the idols of the Goddess Shakti are immersed in the river. Dussehra, meaning ‘ten days’, becomes dasara in popular parlance. The Navratri festival or ‘nine- day festival’ becomes ‘ten-day festival’ with the addition of the last day, Vijayadashami, which is its culmination. The nine nights are dedicated to the three main goddesses of Hinduism – Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
Navratri is separated into sets of three days. First three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga, the Goddess of power and energy. Next three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. The final three days belong to Goddess Saraswati who is worshipped to acquire the spiritual knowledge.Goddess Durga is also worshipped under nine different names for the nine days in Navratri.
Every day, she assumes a new character, a new look and a new duty. These nine forms of manifestation are Shailaputri, Brahmachartini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamaata, Kaatyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidaatri.