Navratri Traditions that Bind us – Sanjhi and Golu
Our festivals are a delightful reminder of the rich and colorful cultural heritage of India!
Navratri is celebrated across the country with some beautiful rituals, traditions and customs that help in binding the country together; Sanjhi and Golu present such commonality amidst the diversity.
Sanjhi Puja is celebrated in parts of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Western UP and is a ten-day festival where people, particularly women and young girls worship Sanjhi. Sanjhi is the name of the mother goddess, after whom images are made of mud and cow dung and molded into various shapes like the face of the goddess and decorated with ornaments and weapons. Other images of stars, moon, sun, etc. are also made along the image of Mother Goddess.
In the evening, earthen lamps are lighted around the images. On the tenth day or the day of Dussehra, the images on the walls are scratched and removed. The Sanjhi festival ends with the immersion of Sanjhi on the day of Dashami/Dussehra.
Golu is the festive display of dolls of gods, animals, children during Navratri. Golu displays are popular in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Each Golu or doll is displayed in a rack. These dolls are usually made from clay and then painted in bright colours. They are generally arranged in an odd number.
First the kalash is decorated with mango leaves, and a coconut is placed on top of it. It is considered to represent Goddess Durga. Dolls of deities are placed on both sides of the kalash; the dolls of Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati are always a part of the arrangement.
The Navratri Golu depicts scenes from our ancient times and stories of Ramayan, Purana etc. are passed on from generation to generation. During the Golu display season, families visit each other with gifts to view the Golu display, share festive foods, and sometimes play music or sing devotional songs together.
On the tenth day or Dashami, the dolls from the display are symbolically put to sleep to mark the end of that year’s Navaratri Golu.
Our festivals are a delightful reminder of the rich and colorful cultural heritage of India! And each of us must do our bit to preserve our tradition and culture.
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.