By Suraj Bhatt
NHSF (UK) Sewa Team
In a country of such diverse religions and customsthere is one celebration that stands out in a vibrancy of colours, music and dancing: Navratri. Sharad Navratri, meaning ‘nine nights’, is one of the auspicious festivals that has been passed down many generations in the Hindu Dharma, bringing together families and communities. The festival is celebrated for nine nights and ten days during which the nine forms of Goddess Shakti are worshipped.
The nine day festival, includes fasting, Durga Pujas and raas garba. The “Garba” is a dance of graceful steps performed around a decorated symbolised form of the Goddess. Another popular dance is the “Dandia Raas”, in which men and women join the dance circle, holding small elegant sticks (dandias),and moving to the rhythmic beats played by live musicians. The nights are full of energy and joyful dancing into which each individual becomes mesmerised. Commencing late in the evening and continuing until the early hours of the morning is celebrated by individuals, dressed in traditional, radiant folk wear.