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Even though the world is divided into many continents and countries, the people who live in them share the same joys and sorrows. It is interesting to note that festivals celebrated in India and festivals celebrated in some other parts of the world, say America and Japan share many similarities. For e.g. Deepavali, the festival of lights celebrated in India is mirrored in the 4th of July celebrations in America. Both these festivals have celebrations in the midst of bursting crackers and fireworks. Japanese also celebrate a doll festival similar to the Kolu Festival of Tamilnadu. Here is a peek into our festivals and why we celebrate them.

The much-awaited festival Navaratri – translated as Nine Nights - comes in October, just before the chilly winter sets in. In western India, specifically in the state of Gujarat, Navaratri is celebrated with much festivity. Girls and boys dress up in traditional garments and jewellery and gather in an open ground at night. After worshiping Goddess Durga, they all form a circle and dance till wee hours of morning. This celebration goes on for nine nights and ends in Dashera. The main motive of this festival is to celebrate the victory of good over evil. This is the celebration of the death of the terrorizing demon Mahishasura by Goddess Durga. In the same way, Dashera too, is celebrating the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana. On the night of Dashera, Huge statues of the demon king made of firecrackers and dry hay are kept in the middle of an open ground and arrows of fire are shot at the statue. As the statues start to burn, people joyously chant the name of Lord Rama to signify that he has won over evil.

Eastern India, celebrates Durga Pooja at the same time. Huge idols of Goddess Durga are worshipped during this time and at the end of the nine days, the idols are immersed in the sea.

In south India, Navaratri is celebrated in a different way. Each house creates a display of gods and goddesses, in a step like construction. Wooden steps are created and all kinds of idols are displayed on it in an innovative way. This festival is called “Kolu”. All neighbours go to each others’ houses and spend the evening in praying to God and singing devotional songs.

Soon after the Navaratri comes Deepavali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated by the whole of India with much pomp and show. On the night of Deepavali, each and every house looks like tiny galaxies of stars because of the oil lamps that adorn them. In the night, fire crackers are burst and the sky lights up too. Going in the same theme of ‘Victory of Good against Evil’, people worship Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth and pray for prosperity.

Festivals have always been a way of sharing joys with each others. And Indians prove that even though they are diverse in every way, they will always be together when sharing their festivals.