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Festivals for kids

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NAVRATRI
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NAVRATRI
Festivals are for fun and food, friends and family, and of
course holidays!!
India has festivals to mark
seasonal changes, seeding
and harvesting, family
occasions
just about
everything! Navratri as
the name indicates is a
nine day festival or a
nine-night festival.
Navratri is celebrated twice a year in India.
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The earlier one falls roughly in April,
and ends in Ram Navami, where all
Hindus celebrate the birth of Ram,
the king of Ayodhya famed for his
scrupulous justice. Typically, people
fast for the nine days. It's not like
they go hungry for the entire time
but eat a variety of grain and
cereal, except for wheat and rice.
The change of diet is a good practice
to ensure the health of the
digestive system.
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In many parts of North India, there is a jagran or
awakening for the entire period. People stay awake all
night, singing bhajans or devotional songs together. Pop
stars are roped in to keep everyone awake! On Ram Navami
the birth of Ram is celebrated with worship and feasting.
When Navratri is celebrated again in October, the
nine-day fast is made in the name of King Ram. As it goes,
Ram had spent fourteen years in exile. Around the middle
of that time a demon king Ravana kidnapped his wife, Sita
and carried her off to his kingdom in Lanka.
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NAVRATRI

After much searching he


found her found her and
attacked the 10-headed king with the help of his friend
Hanuman. He had slayed Ravana, and restored the balance
of good and evil in the world. Navratri celebrates this
triumph of good over evil.
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In all the northern states of India Ram Leela a nine
evening traditional drama eulogizing the life of Lord Ram
also concludes on Dashera , the tenth day. Huge effigies of
Ravana are burnt down to much merriment and bursting of
crackers and feasting.

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NAVRATRI
Huge fairs emerge in cities and
towns across the country where
all kinds of food and curio stalls
offer their fascinating wares.
People enjoy themselves late
into the night, gorging on
traditional sweets and savories.
In Gujarat, people step out and
dance the Dandiya all night long,
in glory of the goddess Durga.

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NAVRATRI IN THE NORTH-EAST

NAVRATRI

Navratri in October is also important in West Bengal and


the seven north eastern states of India. Here it is called
Durga Pooja. For ten days, everyone in West Bengal is on a
holiday no school, no office! The militant and fiery Goddess
Durga is venerated
all during this time.
Worshippers fast for
nine days and pay
obeisance to huge
effigies of Durga
slaying the wicked
demon Mahishasur.
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NAVRATRI
It is a time when the rich literary and artistic tradition of
Bengal is brought out on stage. Theres dancing, drama,
painting competitions and so on. Food and fun is high on the
agenda of this colourful and culturally rich festival.
The purpose of this festival (and many others around the
world) is to tell us all that good wins over evil and each of
us is meant to chase away wicked thoughts and replace
them with good ones.

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NAVRATRI
PROJECT

The entire story of Ram, Sita and the triumph of good


over evil is in the epic Ramayana. Find a member of family
and ask them to tell you about why Ram was exiled in the
first place. There are also many other sources online and
in books where you can find the information if someone in
your family doesn't know.

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