In India, Navratras are celebrated in almost every where but with some unique feature. Durga pooja in Kolkota is known to be a huge open art gallery with a variety of ideas and metaphors. In fact, the celebration here is not one of rituals but born out of an inherent, all-encompassing desire to connect people with social messaging. It is a sort of tribute to mind over matter.
It is said that Lord Rama sought help from Devi Chandi or Durga to contain Lankan king Ravana who was her devotee and considered under her protection. After testing Lord Rama's devotion and content with his bhakti, Goddess Durga granted him powers to destroy Ravana. Where as in Telangana, the legend around it is slightly different. According to it, Gods were unhappy because of the two demons, Shumbh and Nishumbh. They approached sage Medha, who told them that only Devi Mahamaya (Durga) could save them. The Gods combined their spiritual strength and added to the strength of the mighty Goddess Durga. Durga went to the demon Kingdom in the form of a beautiful woman. Entrance by her beauty, the demons proposed to her. She agreed on the condition that they would have to defeat her in war. Not knowing her innate strength, the demons accepted the challenge and were killed. In other words, it marked the triumph of good over the evil excessive negative use of power, money and arrogance.
Navratras in Jammu and Kashmir are much of a fertility ritual and seasonal in nature. The Sharada Navratras is one of the four that heralds winter. The rice fields in the valley begin ripening and sugarcane fields in Jammu are ready for the harvest. Rituals begin with each family sowing grains of barley in a small bed of earth. They then water the patch for nine days and sing religious hymns so that the seeds can sprout faster. At the end of the ninth day, when the sprouts are about an inch high, family members collect them in a pot, sit in for a concluding puja and distribute them among friends, neighbours and the community as a token of Divine blessings. These seedlings are considered as amulets of good luck. Devotees hold them with reverence.
In Sharada Navratras Ramleela is integral part of the celebration. In Almora region of Uttarakhand is known for its Almora or Kumaon style Ramleela that has been recognised by UNESCO in its 2008 report as one of the representative styles of Ramleela in India. The Ramleela which started in Almora in1831, is based on song and ballet. The dialogue delivery is through singing while the steps are based on a ballet fusion.
The Shakti worship is itself divided into three parts. During the first set of three nights, the Goddess is invoked as a spiritual force or Durga and worshipped for her powers to destroy human vices and frailties. The subsequent three nights are devoted to Goddess Lakshmi and wealth creation by society as a whole. The final three nights are devoted to the Goddess of wisdom, Saraswati, as seekers prioritise knowledge as a tool to tame power and wealth. They hope for the best use of the resources and capacities bestowed on them.
So it can be said that most of the festivals in India are centered on women. The folk tales are woven in such a way, linking rituals to good health, longevity and the general welfare of the society that they are anointed as keepers of humankind by observing them. So women are means of empowerment. The celebration of Durga Pooja twice a year is recognition of women.
Prathma is a Reiki & Karuna Reiki Master. She is practising and teaching Reiki & many other healing Modalities for last 15 years. As she is an expert in Reiki, Magnified Healing, Past Life Regression Therapy, Theta Healing, Angel Therapy, EET and EFT. She has formed a Spiritual Meditation Club in Batala, in which Group Meditation is practiced & taught to every member. Master Prathma has also taken meditation sessions in Leading IT companies in Pune (like KPIT, Mansoft & Sungaurd). She also works as a Student Counselor in Gems International School, Batala. She is also a Tarot and Angel Card Reader. You can reach her at email@example.com, http://prathmahealingzone.com/