The festive season is upon us. It is a time for sumptuous feasts, family reunions, and revelries, filled with lights, colours, music, theatricals, and more. Not to mention the excitement of festive-time shopping! Here’s why the season is special for us.
Navaratri, a celebration of the divine feminine
Navarathri reveres and celebrates the divine feminine, the supreme consciousness that animates all life. In Hindu tradition where each deity represents a unique characteristic of the Absolute, Durga is the unassailable Goddess, whose chosen mode of transport is a stealthy lion. On her 10 hands, she bears 10 weapons, each of which symbolize a different kind of ‘shakti’ or power. Also known as Mahishasuramardini for her triumph over the demon Mahishasur, she is a harbinger of good times. It is only fitting that such a trail blazing and feisty Goddess is celebrated with creative pomp and imagination!
The revelries of Navarathri extend 10 days. In the Northern part of the country, people erect grand, colourful, and inspired ‘pandals’ (pavilions) that depict the Goddess in all her splendor. There is, of course, a vast selection of food, with invigorating theatre, musicals, and arts to go with it.
In the South, people curate dolls that tell stories of different gods, avatars, scenes from epics, and more, in an arrangement of nine steps. Hot sundal is served, and songs are playfully coaxed out of guests. Children dress up as gods and visit ‘golus’, keeping score of admiration and appreciation from doting adults.
The festival, a remarkable celebration of the power of women, culminates on Ayudha Puja and Vijayadashami, on days 9 and 10. On the day of Ayudha Puja, we are urged to revere everything in life that serves us, including the utility of everyday things. Vijayadashami, as the name goes, is a day that brings success, and is therefore believed to be the most auspicious day of the year to start anything new.
Dhanteras, the day of abundance
Dhanteras is the precursor that kick starts Diwali. Regarded as the day of wealth and abundance, people celebrate and express gratitude for their prosperity on this day – a gesture that is believed to attract more wealth into one’s life. Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kubera, are worshipped on this day.
The story goes that as the Gods and demons churned the milky ocean in search of the nectar of immortality, Goddess Lakshmi emerged out of the depths of the deep sea, on this day. Dhanteras is also associated with Dhanwantri, the physician to the Gods. Symbolically, the occasion encourages us to pay attention to our spiritual health and wealth.
A day of importance to the business community, it is believed that buying precious metals such as gold and silver, or property, on this day, brings good luck and begets prosperity.
Diwali, the festival of lights
The festival of lights is one of the most popular celebrations in the country. Commemorating the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya at the end of his exile, the festival symbolizes the prevalence of light and righteousness over darkness. Diwali, literally meaning ‘rows of lights’, urges us to look beyond the materiality of our world, and embrace light and joy in all aspects of life. As diyas light up homes, spirits soar and a sense of harmony pervades.
Diwali is the blockbuster of all Tamil festivals. It takes one on a trip down memory lane, back to the best of childhood moments. You are roused early in the day, that is, if you could sleep at all given all the excitement. You then assemble for the oil ritual, which involves having oil smeared on your head, under the deft administration of a delighted grandparent. When you’ve had your shower and have put on your new outfit, you join your family for the festivities of the day. The excitement only grows as you light the variety of fireworks! Sleep can wait until tomorrow; today is all about light hearted fun and fervor.
Considered the most efficacious time of the year, one that celebrates the victory of good over evil, this may be the best time to start anything new – be it a new project, a business venture, education, or real estate investment. If you are looking for new projects in Chennai that celebrate you and your family for generations to come, what better time than this festive season to do it?