Navratri – a Hindu festival widely celebrated across India. This is a very auspicious festival.
Navratri if split up then “Nav” means nine and “ratri” means nite. So the full festival is of nine nights and ten days. Navratri comes 5 times a year. Different Goddess are worshiped in different states of India.
The Navratri which comes during Sharad month (Hindu calendar) is the one which we all enjoy the most. This is the time where people play Garba. Garba is traditionally played around a “Garbha Deep” (a round decorated pot wherein one diva is lighted inside the pot) along with image or statue of Goddess Durga or Amba. Garba is played in circle of Garbha Deep which indicates our life cycle (from birth to life to death and again rebirth).
But now the trend has totally changed. Lately since last one decade this festival has turned into a money making business. Earlier there were many societies who use to follow the old trend of Garba, but slowly slowly this festival has died down. Societies have stopped celebrating Navratri and hence people are forced to go out to play Garba. They end up spending more money and in return have less time; Mumbai has restriction of playing loudspeakers till 10pm. It has turned into a profit making – industry thus killing the true spirit of the festivity. For the younger generation, these Nine nights is just meant for fun and outing with friends. I am sure no one knows the importance of playing Garba but during these nine nights people just want to go out and enjoy with friends. I have seen people playing Garba even on Hindi Bollywood music. Is this what our ancestors, our great grand fathers have left behind for us to follow?
And yes there are still many who really love playing Garba and know the importance of the tradition. These are the ones who play Garba and truly enjoy the festival the most.
I still remember my school days when we use to celebrate Navratri for full nine nights in my old society and people from our neighbouring societies also use to come to play Garba. Dance competition, fancy dress, housie were some of the extra cultural programs we use to organize during those nine nights. It was really fun. I really miss those days.
I personally feel more and more individual society needs to start celebrating such festivals in their society ground and should make the younger generation aware of the importance of the tradition.
Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali and Prosperous New Year !!!