Raavan dahan – letting go of what’s not serving you! (Burn that Raavan)
Most Indians are aware of what is Garba? Of course the minute you say it, you associate it with Gujarati People.
This nine days of dancing and praising Goddess Durga or Kali in India is known as Navratri.
This is the festival that normally happens in October or November every year. This year it will begin at the end of September.
There is a story of a demon named Mahisa soor that Goddess Kali or Durga kills in order to maintain order in this world. Her battle with this demon lasted nine days and thus is celebrated to signify the victory of good over evil.
Around India and especially in Gujarat many folks fast for nine days, pray and meditate on Ambe ma (another name for Goddess Kali). Some fast on only fruits and water, some fast with one meal a day for cleansing of the mind and body and some simply to shed some pounds.
One of the best part of Navratri which literally means Nine days is nine nights of dancing known as Garba. Girls look forward to dressing up and swinging their hips and dancing the night away.
While the boys look forward to looking at these beautiful girls and perhaps finding their future wife amongst them. Some of us also look forward to the snacks being served at these events. Some of my favorite Gujarati snacks are papadi no lot, undhiyu, samosa, bataka vadaa, locho, khaman and dabeli.
The 10th day of this festival signifies the victory of good over evil in Hindu epic story of Ramayana. This day in India is celebrated by burning effigies off Ravana the antagonist of the story of Ramayana.
We at Sanskarteaching follow this tradition a little differently where we write down on a piece of paper all of the qualities about ourselves that we would like eradicated from our lives.
For younger students this could mean something simple as biting my nails and for older students it could be more like I want to stop yelling at my mother. For us adults it may be something like I want to stop making excuses about going to the gym.
On the other side of the paper we draw a picture of the 10 headed demon known as Raavan. On the tenth day after Navratri we light a small fire, say a quick prayer and burn these papers assuring ourselves that as these papers burn these negative qualities about ourselves also vanish. We invite you to come along and follow this Sanskar tradition in your home.
Let us know in the comments below what you choose to eradicate from your life.