Navratri is a Hindu festival that is celebrated in the autumn every year. There are four seasonal Navratri – Among the four, Sharada Navaratri is the most celebrated one.
The Sharada Navaratri begins on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashvini. It is celebrated for nine nights. The festival is celebrated in different ways throughout India.
In West Bengal it is celebrated as the Durga Puja festival. In North India, the festival is marked by the numerous Ramleela events.
Image source: Odyssey online
In Gujarat, this festival is one of the main festivals. The people observe fast for a day or partially during these nine days like a few of them do not eat grains or they just have liquid foods, in remembrance of one of nine aspects of Shakti goddess. The prayers are dedicated to a symbolic clay pot called garbo.
The Garbo significance is celebrated through performance arts on all nine days. The dance performance is called Garba.
In Karnataka, the festival is observed by lighting up in temples. It is locally called Dasara – a state festival of Karnataka. Mysore Dasara is popular for its festivities. The ninth day of Dasara is called Mahanavami – the royal sword is worshipped. It is taken on a procession of decorated elephants and horses.
Image source: Karnataka.com
Ayudha Pooja is performed which is dedicated to Saraswati goddess, on the ninth day of Dasara. The day after Navratri is called Vijayadashmi. A few of them also decorate the house with dolls and that’s the reason it is also called Gombe Habba.
In Telengana, during Navaratri nights, Hindu women produce Bathukamma (floral decoration) for Navratri goddesses. During first three days, the goddess Durga (Parvati) is worshipped, while the next three days, goddess Lakshmi is worshipped, and the last three days, goddess of wisdom, Saraswati is worshipped.
In Tamil Nadu, goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga are worshipped. Just like in Karnataka, TN people also celebrate it by decorating the home with dolls. They also invite people visit their homes to view Kolu displays, and then exchange gifts and sweets. It is also performed in Andra Pradesh, where it is called Bommala Koluvu.