FESTIVE SPIRIT/GEN NEXT
Recreating a Chennai Navratri
The golu has made its way into many south Indian homes in America
Prema Narayanan on setting up the traditional
golu in America
Just like in
Indian culture is the only culture that celebrates festivals through the year, handed over to us from generation to generation. But the most important among them for
most are Diwali and Navratri (or
Durga Puja in West Bengal).
In south India, we celebrate Navratri,
which means nine nights starting from
amavasya(the no moon day on a lunar
calendar) to dashami(the 10th day on a
lunar calendar), with a golu (a display
of deities). We worship goddess Durga,
Lakshmi and Saraswati, and we believe
the goddess comes to our house to bless
us, purify our mind and body, shower
wealth and prosperity.
The Navratri golu celebration in our
house started when my granddaughter
was four. We had visited a friend who
kept a golu at her house. As soon as my
granddaughter came home, she spread
a towel on top of the table, kept her toys
and dolls over it and said, ‘Let’s invite
all my friends for golu.’
Since then we started keeping a golu
in our house. From a simple table golu
it has grown this year to a seven-step
one with deity dolls and other bom-
mays (dolls and figurines).
Prema Narayanan is a teacher, dancer and
expert cook, who divides time between her
sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren.
She lives in Canton, Michigan.