An auspicious event was celebrated in Columbia University’s religious and community service HQ Earl Hall on 16th October. This was one of the events highlighting the increasing number of events from South Asia being celebrated where every Columbian can be a part of it and learn more about their culture.
Navratri (‘Nav’ means nine and ‘ratri’) means night is a nine-day festival that celebrates the nine forms of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Deity in form of Shakti [Energy or Power]. It is one of the most celebrated festivals in Hindu calendar. No other major religion of the world acknowledges God as part female, or is willing to fully depict Her as the Goddess. But for Hindus, the Goddess, is the emanating power, the essence and the creative manifestation of the Supreme Being, who is beyond opposites. This unique broadness of Hinduism makes Navaratri the world’s greatest festival dedicated to the Goddess.
Earl Hall was transformed into a Little India with traditional colorful costumes and the free food. The atmosphere at the place was reminiscent of a typical Navratri celebration in Gujarat (where it is the most celebrated event). The girls and the women were wearing ghagra choli, a three-piece dress with chol
i on the top and ghagra as bottom, made of cotton with beads, shells, mirrors, sitars, and embroidery work, mati, jhumkas, necklaces, bindi, bajubandh, chudas and kangans, kamarbandh, payal, and mojiris and dupatta tucked in the Gujarati manner. Boys and men were dressed up in kafni pyjamas with a kediyu – a short round kurta – above the knees and pagadi on the head with bandhini dupatta, kada, and mojiris. The dance performance by CU Raas was the limelight of the event. Students also got to enjoy dancing Garba (traditional dance
form where people danced around the center, bending sideways at every step, their arms making sweeping gestures, each movement ending in a clap) finding partners for the dance became a fun activity in itself. The delicious traditional Indian food added to the delight of all the attendees.
All the fun and celebrations joined hands with a cause. Students were encouraged to donate funds for the victims of flood in Pakistan and the donations were sent to Pakistan Flood Relief Fund.
Rohit Mittal SEAS ’11
Rohit Mittal SEAS ’11