After many years, yesterday I went to see a “Durga Pooja Pandaal” in Bangalore. The nine day celebration “Navaratri”, culminates on the tenth day with the festival of Dussehra. The Gujaratis celebrate it with gusto – the beautiful dresses, the garbaas and the daandiyaas!
The Bengalis (and as far as I know the Oriyas too) set up huge pandaals with beautiful idols of Goddess Durga and other deities. “Pandaal hopping” is an essential part of the celebration – to check out which area has outdone the other in the theme/decoration of the idols.
The rest of North India celebrates it by enacting the epic of Ramayana on stage – “Ramlila” and having Dussehra fetes (“melas”) on the tenth day, with fireworks and other festivities. (As per the Hindu mythology, on the day of Dussehra, Raam, the prince of Ayodhya, slayed the demon king Raavan)
In the South of India, the festival of “Ayudh Pooja” (worshipping the weapons/tools of the trade) conincides with these days.
So all in all, the whole of India is busy in celebrations during these nine/ten days. Next big festival would be Deepawali (which as per the mythology is the day when Raam reached back Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, after slaying Raavan.). But there are many “mini” festivals in between :-).
I wonder if there is any other country in the world which has so many festivals – and I wonder even more as to what exactly is it that we celebrate – are the festivals there just to keep ourselves busy or someone thought that this is the way to keep the Gods happy or they are simply the celebration of life itself! I am not sure if I would ever get the answer but I guess they are there to keep your mind off such questions :-).


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