Navratri is one of the eminent festival celebrated by Indo-American population of over 2 million. The celebration of this nine-day-nine-night Hindu festival, dedicated to Maa Durga and her nine manifestations of the cosmic energy.The Sharad Navratri, which marks the onset of winter, has grown very popular in recent times owing to the dazzling decoration, dances and music performances. Besides, it gives people from different communities a great opportunity to blend in and mix socially.
Navratri this year starts from 29th September(Ashvin month) . Navratri is literal translation of ‘nine nights’ of devotion. This festival is as much about spirituality and religious connect as it is about celebration through song, music and dance.Dance is the most popular part of the festival in the U.S. as it sees the participation of people from all ages. Though the festival involves rituals of puja and fasting, some choose to do only partial fasting with fruits and ‘vrat’ food or ‘fasting menu’.
California, New Jersey and Texas witnesses big celebration. Navratri festival celebration involves folk dancing and singing and a special ritual around an image or symbolic representation of Maa Durga. It attracts people to different venues across the region, with some venues taking most of the importance. The West Coast Navratri celebration is one of the biggest one amongst all.
As part of tradition, participants dances on folk beats of ‘Garba’ and ‘Raas’ and their numerous variations. The dance honours the nine manifestations of Maa Durga. Puja at homes is done in a traditional manner.However, the Garba and Dandiya events take on a more contemporary flare owing to the flexibility of the dance forms. Traditional and authentic Indian food adds to the festivities.
ISSO Swaminarayan Temple and the Anaheim Center are important venues. In some places, the event is ticketed for a social or charitable cause. Some student bodies also hold university level programmes that support community building.