Covid-19 may have cancelled ‘Navratri Utsav’ by Gujarati Sanatan Samaj but has failed to dampen the spirit of the festival. Though open celebration has been prohibited but the celebrations at home, within the family continue. Several houses in the city are hosting Navratri Utsav with limited gatherings.
“Though coronavirus has changed the entire schedule but being a Gujarati, I look forward to attending the garba/dandiya. This is the time we are celebrating and praying at homes. This year has taught us how we can enjoy the festival by following social distancing norms and yet perform rituals at home,” said Nimisha Ranpara.
Virtual prayers, online dandiya, and garba sessions are also the new normal amidst Navratri utsav. “ I just love everything about this traditional folk dance and hence I spend a lot of time upgrading my skills in performing it. I am happy that I am able to perform at my home,” said another member of Gujarati community.
For entrepreneur Sejal Modi, Navratri is a celebration of Shakti, she feels the pandemic does not dampen the spirit at all. “We are celebrating at homes with a few friends, maintaining social distance,” she noted.
Navratri marks the victory of the adishakti over demon Mahishasur after a battle which lasted nine days and nights. In the city the celebrations are more traditional with the thrust on cultural and religious programmes with the Bengali community adding another dimension to the celebrations by organising their traditional Durga Puja.
“Garba of Gujarat is the most popular women’s folk dance of Gujarat. Today it is a social dance at all the levels of society. People from our community are performing on the folk songs to celebrate the occasion,” said Jayanti Shah, a member of the community.
“Gujarati people follow typical rituals by getting 'Garbo' which is a small pot made up of sand very well decorated with colors and other decorative stuff and call it 'Mataji’ which means Goddess named ‘Ambema’. As Gujarati's keep a small 'Diva' (Small Candle type Fire light) inside the ‘Garbo' which has several holes inside for air ventilation,” said Ramesh Ranpara, a senior functionary of the Gujarati Sanatan Samaj.