Navaratri – the festival of worshipping the divine mother is currently underway across all of AIM for Seva’s locations in India. This nine day period is celebrated in different ways across the country.
In north India (Delhi and Uttar Pradesh), Ramlila occupies centre stage while in West Bengal Durga Puja pandals capture the essence of the festive spirit. In Gujarat, people invoke the celebratory mood by performing the Garba while in south India, Golu is the centre piece of the festival.
Golu is an artistic display of dolls in a step format. A typical Golu displays scenes from celebrated Indian stories from time immemorial like the Ramayana and Dashavataram. Another theory is that the steps depict the evolution ladder, with animals, village scenes being displayed at the bottom and the Gods and Goddesses being placed right at the top.
The dolls are placed on multiple steps, usually in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11). The most common step placement ranges from five to seven. Some families even go for nine steps, each step representing one day of Navaratri while some go in for a smaller installation and decoration, three steps. Usually, the number of steps is decided based on quantity of dolls available for display. Some families follow a tradition of buying a new doll/set of dolls, during every Golu.
The steps are covered with a decorative cloth and the dolls are placed on it. In some homes, wooden dolls or Marapachi Bommai is also part of the arrangement. Business is usually depicted with a Chettiar set of dolls and shop items. The first step is decorated with a kalash (ceremonial jar). This is considered to represent Goddess Durga. The assembly of dolls is worshipped twice a day.
Wishing everyone a Happy Navaratri!