Festival of Spirit, Joy and Enthusiasm: Navratri

Longest festival of India, ‘Navratri’ is the Festival of Spirit, Joy and Enthusiasm. ‘Nav’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ means ‘night’. Thus, ‘Navratri’ means ‘nine nights’. There are many legends attached to the conception of Navratri like all Indian festivals. All of them are related to Goddess Shakti (Hindu Mother Goddess) and her various forms. It is one of the most celebrated festivals of Hindu calendar, it holds special significance for Gujratis and Bengalis and one can see it in the zeal and fervor of the people with which they indulge in the festive activities of the season. Dandiya and Garba Rass are the highlights of the festival in Gujarat, while farmer sow seeds and thank the Goddess for her blessings and pray for better yield. In older times, Navratri was associated with the fertility of Mother Earth who feed us as her children.

The most characteristic dances of Gujarat during Navratri are the Rasa and Garba dances which are performed at all levels of society by men and women. The origin of the Rasa is traced back to the legends connected with the life of Lord Krishna. It is essentially associated with the agricultural rites. The Rasa is performed in Gujarat India on Navaratra; and other important festivals associated with harvest and crops. The Rasa dances of Saurashtra are closely related to agricultural functions and are for the best part grain-ritual dances.