The festival of Navratri starts tomorrow… a 9 day pageantry of rituals, pujas, dance and music.
Nav+Ratri literally means 9 nights. Nine nights dedicated to the Goddess in her different avatars. As all festivals in India, this too is a kaleidoscope of colours.
In the recent years, I have noticed a trend where people, especially women, dress up in a particular colour on each of the 9 days. After some ‘research’… mostly asking my colleagues and a little bit of Googling… I came to know that it IS a recent addition to the celebrations. It is more of a concept of unifying the masses. And I can picture how a large crowd of people, like on a busy station platform, would look when they are all colour-coordinated for 9 days. Yes… it must be quite the sight.
So, I set out to find out why particular colours are used and when. The list of colours was easily available online. But, I did have to do some in-depth research to come up with the significance of these colours. Now, this may vary with people’s beliefs but to an extent the common understanding of the colours is of their association with the various avatars / incarnations of the Goddess and her qualities. I am told, the idols of the goddess are also dressed up in these colours on the 9 days of Navratri. The order of the colours change annually but the colours are fixed.
Yellow – Goddess Saraswati – One who works hard
Green – Goddess Jagadamba – Mother Nature (This year, it is just this green)
Parrot Green – Goddess Amba – One who is compassionate (Amba means mother in Sanskrit)
Grey – Maha Kali or Bhairavi – One who grants wishes
Orange – Goddess Chamunda – One who is courageous
White – Goddess Parvati – One who has all the gunas
Red – Goddess Durga – One who is always all powerful
Sky Blue – Goddess Bhuvaneshvari – One who represents illusion
Deep Blue – Goddess Narayani – One who is good-natured (this Goddess is the consort of Lord Vishnu)
Royal Blue – Goddess Renuka Devi – One who inspires (this year the blue is Royal Blue)
Pink – Goddess Chinamasta – One with the severed head, signifies self-sacrifice
Purple – Goddess Kushmanda – One who signifies beginnings