Other memories (part one of this post is here) that come up are those of the sundals, the sweets, and of course, the dolls and the displays at each house we visited. The same humble bean with the same set of accompanying ingredients takes on unique yet wonderfully yummy flavors in different homes. We did not pause to think of this fact then but enjoyed the sundal. We would inevitably find the 7-cup barfi or the coconut barfi in the goody bag given to us (and the badam paalu served) and that would taste different too under the hands of different chefs.
So what is Navratri and what is it's significance?
Navratri literally means nine nights and the tenth day is called Vijayadashami (means victory on the 10th day). The mother goddess is worshiped in her various forms over the nine days. The first three days for the form Durga - the destroyer of evils and granter of boons; the second three days for Lakshmi - the giver of wealth; and the last three days for Saraswathi - the goddess of wisdom and knowledge.
Various stories and traditions add to the richness of this festival celebrated across India in different ways. In Tamil Nadu, Navratri is celebrated in many homes through the colorful tradition of the Golu or kolu (golu means courtyard). This is a display of dolls arranged in steps - number of steps should be odd (3, 5, 7, 9 and so on). The dolls are arranged in a hierarchy across the steps beginning with the kalasam and dolls of goddesses on the top step to reptiles, fish, etc in the bottom step (depending on the dolls people have with them). The display is kept for the nine days of Navratri and on the 10th day, any one doll is symbolically laid down to sleep to indicate that Navratri has ended for the year.
Here is one look at my golu this year.
ABC Wednesday's letter K