(Report) Navratri Festival Ceremony in Bundelkhand.
For the agrarian community who inhabit the central Indian
region known as Bundelkhand, the month of March is the time to raise the hope
high. The people have just come out of a hard season, ploughing and sowing at
their fields and getting the land ready. Everyone is waiting for the rains to
pour. At that moment, comes the auspicious festival of Navratri and the whole
region goes ecstatic with hope.
"It is one time in the year when the people can dare to hope
for anything and everything under the sun," says native Community Correspondent
Shankarlal. "They hope against incurable diseases, against calamities, fate and
the odds. The sky is the limit. And you only need to have the belief to do so."
According to the local belief, on the days of the festival,
the goddess herself enters the body of the chosen one in the community. The
person goes into a dervish trance. The others in village pay their respects and
make promises to the goddess in exchange for blessings and miracles.
"You could call it a superstition but it is the culture of
the region and the ceremony sets the tone for the festival," says Shankarlal.
"The goddess herself has visited the earth to give us her blessings. Once the
impossible has happened, everything seems possible."
To propitiate the goddess, the people build 'Ghatts' which
are earthen pots stuffed with a local variety of grass. These ghatts are placed
at locations in the village considered holy - in the vicinity of the temple,
under the banyan tree, in the courtyards of the houses etc. They are allowed to
remain there for nine days of the festival and on the ninth night, are set
affloat in the nearby ponds, lakes or rivers.
While the most religious and zealous tend to undergo grueling
tasks like fasting for nine days or crawling on their knees across the entire
village, most believe that the best way to propitiate the goddess to is through
song and dance.
"Every night, the people gather in the community space. The
nagara and the dholak (drums) are out. Folk songs are ringing through the air.
Everybody dances till they can't dance anymore. It's almost like a fever in air.
We are so carefree. We are filled with a never-before and never-after wave of
hope and joy."
"Those nine days are some of the best of our lives."
Bringing Bundelkhand to the World.
बुंदेलखंड का सर्वप्रथम ऑनलाइन वेब पोर्टल
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