The era of adopting westernized techniques to ideology to dressing style and so on; the air of western culture is widely dominant in India, since more than a decade. As we are saying that our Indian culture is being modified by western views, here I contradict my own statement by highlighting the Indian traditional and cultural norms still being valued in the form of our enthusiastic and bright Indian festivals.
Have you ever wondered that may be these Indian festivals have some connection with the Western world festivals; or rather few of the festivals hold the same significance and motive for celebrating them. If you say yes, then yea you are absolutely correct because here we have unusual similarities between the ‘horror festival of Halloween’ and ‘Indian festival of Kali Chaudas’.
Eerie essence of Halloween:
The Celtic tribe celebrated Samhain, at the beginning of winter season to please the evil ghostly powers, which are said to dominate over the Sun God on this day. The Druid circle performs their own ceremonies on this day along with offering thanks to the dead for the rich harvest of the season. So the entire kingdom is kindled with fire before the new moon day to welcome the wandering dead spirits and offer them with the grand feast to pacify their hungry souls.
Celebration of good over evil of Kali Chaudas:
The Indian festival of Kali Chaudas falls on the fourteenth day of the moon cycle or one day before the new moon day, marked by the bright festival of Diwali. This festival is associated with the period to celebrate the harvest of this season and offer auspicious homage to their ‘Kul-devta or kul-devi’. Before this festival, Indians pay special reverence to their ancestors by organizing Shradh puja and honouring their Pitras or manes. During this shradh period, families prepare great feasts to pacify the hungry souls of their ancestors and receive blessings from them. The also feed the birds as they are considered to be the spirits of dead and messengers of Lord Yama (God of Death).
Rare mystery of ‘Pumpkins’:
The Halloween gives special importance to ‘Pumpkin’ and devilish faces are painted on it and placed outside the house, to prevent the entrance of evil spirits and wandering souls inside the house. In the same way, Pumpkin was also used by Indians to restrict the wanderers to a particular way and it was also used in magical ceremonies of keeping away the evil spirits.
Opportunity for tiny toddlers:
Both the western and Indian world gives opportunity to the kids to enjoy on this festival and celebrate it with zest. In west, children dress up as evil and devilish characters and go from one house to another to collect funds and similarly the Indian kids dress up in their best attire during the festive season of Deepawali.
Devil form of women:
As the evil ‘witch’ is widely prominent in Halloween and people dress up like them to scare them away, and not let them enter their house or destroy their harvest. The story of Adam’s wife Lilith, turning into a succubus is widely known and since then the demon role of women was evident. In Indian context, the furious and devilish form of Goddess Kali is revered on this day for ending Naraksura (demon). This shows that how a beautiful, elegant lady can transform into devilish form when she has been exploited and failed to get the respect as women.
So the two festivals are almost similar as the idea of feeding the ghosts or ancestors for pacifying their soul and celebrating the pious day of Diwali and All Saints Day and All Souls Day respectively; truly signify the connectivity among humanity and one world as a whole.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
The last three days are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati who is the store house of wisdom. She is the supreme source of knowledge, worshipped by her children to receive the knowledge of Truth (Supreme knowledge: Brahmagyan).
These nine days is a journey to discover our true conscious and realize the divine path of success. It offers an opportunity to get acquainted with Lord Almighty through the path of seva, satsang, meditation and Guru’s blessings.
Devi Kaalratri is the ferocious and violent form of Ma Durga, worshipped on seventh day of navaratri festival. She is the powerful form of avatar whose sole mission was to demolish the existence of demon Raktabeej. She killed him by collecting his blood in a vessel and licking it so that it doesn’t fall on the ground and produce further demons. She is a symbol of ‘naari shakti’, consisting of 4 hands, 3 eyes riding on a donkey. Devi Kalraatri puja bestows you with the strength to overcome evil effects and remove the fear of natural elements.
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To cherish the glories of reverent Goddess Durga and her different forms on each day, the nine days are dedicated to her nine avatars. Removal of negativity is stabilised by the revival of positive energy so the next three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, who showers the prosperity and wealth on her devotees. She bestows with divine energy and fulfils the need of her worshippers so that they can lead a serene and contented life ahead.
The blissful manifestation of Goddess Durga is in her fourth day avatar which is Devi Kushmanda is widely worshipped for her divine cosmic energy and smile. She is said to be the illuminator of the Universe for her vibrant smile, which clearly justifies her name- ‘Ku’: little, ‘Usma’: energy and ‘Anda’: cosmic egg or Universe. Also known as ‘Ashtbhuja’ because of her eight hands, is said to reside on the core of the sun. Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped for her source of light that transformed the eternal darkness into bright prosperous Universe. Her divine smile and glowing face releases all the worries of her devotees and illuminates their path of life. She is a form of ‘Adi-shakti’, who created brightness in the existing universe.
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The first three days, Goddess Durga is worshipped to praise her divine energy which terminates the existence of evil energies in the form of demon. Her ferocious and raging form personifies the energy of mother that erupts actively when positive and righteous powers are at stake.
Goddess of peace, serenity and prosperity, Ma Chandraghanta is worshipped on the third day of navratri festival for her charisma and charm that captivates the devotees’ faith. Due to the half-moon bell on her head she is referred as Chandraghanta. This form of Goddess Durga is a fierce one depicting her anger against the presence of evil and violence on earth. Sitting on her lion with weapons in her 10 hands define the profound anger in her personality but at the time her vibrant and charming personality depicts her glory and fearless attitude.
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Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
To cherish the glories of reverent Goddess Durga and her different forms on each day, the nine days are dedicated to her nine avatars. The first three days, Goddess Durga is worshipped to praise her divine energy which terminates the existence of evil energies in the form of demon. Her ferocious and raging form personifies the energy of mother that erupts actively when positive and righteous powers are at stake.
The ‘pious’ or ‘sanyasin’ form of Goddess Durga which is Goddess brahmacharini, is worshipped on the second day of navratri festival. Her severe penance (tapa) defines the loyalty and love for lord Shiva. ‘Brahma’ refers to the tapa that Ma Brahmacharini performed for thousands of years without even consuming food for achieving Shiv Ji as her consort (husband). Goddess brahmacharini puja is a sign of gaining strength and wisdom, as she is the bank of knowledge and wisdom. The worshipper attains emotional as well as mental balance to face the hard times and an inspiration to cross the darkest hours.
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The monotonous tiring journey gets a halt, or the time to rejuvenate our body, mind and soul during the festive season. Festivals are a source to revive the feeling of togetherness and spread the aura of love and humanity around. It brings back the essence of realizing our true self and gaining immense energy from the vast Universe.
Navaratri are the nine days of joy, enthusiasm, fun and celebration to cherish the victory of good over evil. Literally ‘Nav’ refers to nine and ‘Ratri’ is night, so Navratri is the nine nights and ten days period to receive the powerful grace of Ma Durga. Navratri is celebrated twice a year in the month of Ashwin and Chaitra as per Hindu calendar, which are the season of revival in the nature. At this time our mother nature goes through the changes in nature from one season to another and inspires us to adapt to the similar qualities like them. Animals and birds hibernate, fresh flowers and leaves arrive, the entire nature is recycled in their own way to offer comfortable living to the beings. Mother Nature is the source of our rejuvenation process, similar to our birth mother who takes care of us and loves us selflessly. The festival highlights the importance of mother in our existence, therefore Goddess Durga is worshipped in varied forms to adore and praise her glories.
Goddess durga is the divya-shakti, which can be a bounty of love and care as well as the source of destruction too. She symbolises the power of divine mother as even the Gods pay homage to her strength. Adoring Ma durga during nine days by keeping fasts and worshipping her is the perfect way to realize our upmost goal and motive of existence, which gets blur in the magical world of materialism. The ten days celebration is the triumph of positive over negative by ending the existence of demons. Actually the demon refers to the increase in negative feelings within us that transforms us into ‘asur’.
So the ten malefic traits that mark the increase in devilish nature are as follows:
- Kaam (Lost)
- Krodh (Anger)
- Lobh (Greed)
- Moh (Attachment)
- Ahankar (Ego)
- Darr (Fear)
- Irsha (Jealousy)
- Jadta (Inertia)
- Nafrat (Hate)
- Paschataap (Guilty)
These qualities are won over by the individual in the ten days revival process and finally cherished by them to celebrate the victory of goodness. The tenth day is Vijaya Dasami or widely known as Dusshera, celebrated around India to express the feeling of happiness after attaining the positive strength and getting rid of ill powers.
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Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja