The Festival of Nine Nights, known as Navarathiri, stands as one of the most revered and extensively celebrated Hindu festivals. Navarathiri unfolds over a span of nine days during the Tamil month of Purattasi, typically falling between September and October. This grand festival serves as a poignant reminder of the triumph of Goddess Durga, also known as Parashakthi, over the demon king Mahishasura. The day symbolizing this victory, known as Vijaya Dhasami, is observed on the tenth day with fervent religious zeal, celebrating the eternal victory of good over evil.
During Navarathiri, devotees engage in a time-honored tradition known as “Golu,” a creative display of dolls that narrate tales and legends from Hindu mythology. These figurines are meticulously arranged on a multi-tiered dias, adorned in exquisite silk garments. The faithful extend invitations to their neighbors to visit and partake in this artistic spectacle, with a customary “Bhajanai” ceremony that involves chanting hymns and singing devotional songs to commemorate the eternal triumph of righteousness over malevolence.
After the Bhajanai, guests are treated to refreshments and thoughtful gifts. These post-ceremony offerings typically consist of boiled pulses, and the return gifts include coconuts, betel leaves, fresh flowers, turmeric-kumkum packets, glass bangles, and jewelry.
The ninth day of the Navarathiri festival is especially significant as “Saraswathi Pooja” in Tamil Nadu. On this day, people worship objects such as musical instruments, books, machines, and more, recognizing the importance of knowledge and education in the quest for wisdom.
Notably, the fervor of Navarathiri extends to renowned Amman temples in the state, including the Kanchi Kamakshi Amman Temple in Kanchipuram, the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, the Samayapuram Mariamman Temple in Trichy, and many others. These temples become vibrant centers of devotion and celebration, with devotees thronging to pay their respects and partake in the festivities with unmatched enthusiasm and devotion.