By Apoorva Ravi
Navratri, the 9 days of celebrating the victory of goodness over evil, is a festival of significance in India. It is celebrated in different ways in various parts of the country, and one of the central themes is women’s emotional strength and courage despite all odds.
In our contemporary world, where the noble intentions of feminism are occasionally misconstrued, there’s a beautiful parallel to be drawn with the diverse qualities of women celebrated during each day of Navratri. While feminism strives for nothing more than fairness and equal opportunities for women, some in society have misunderstood feminists as ‘haters of men.’ However, in a society that often simplifies situations into the dichotomy of good and evil, let’s explore the nine days of Navratri, where each day, we pay homage to a goddess.
Day 1 – Orange
The first day of Navratri begins on 15thOctober 2023 which stands for the color orange; and Goddess Parvati is said to take the form of Shailaputri, the daughter of the mountain, and embodies peace, purity, and an innocent nature. These qualities of peace and innocence that many women possess often do not get the recognition they deserve. They are the quiet strengths of a woman who does not shy away from expressing the need for unity, peace, and the curious innocence of a child.
Day 2 – White
On the second day of this auspicious festival, October 16th, white is the significant color and Durga is worshipped as a symbol of courage and perseverance. While every individual requires these traits to survive, many women have carried these traits forward to the next level by showcasing courage and determination in the face of adversity. Be it women who defied all odds and became the first astronaut, first CEO, first Prime Minister, First Trans Women Headmistress, and many more firsts, or the women who survived abuse and harassment at home or work and raised their voices for themselves and others, are all epitome of courage and perseverance.
Day 3 – Red
The third day, called Tritiya, is known for depicting the color red. Here, Parvati takes the form of Chandrakantha, known for grace, power, and authority. These traits are not only present in women who pursue a job outside of their home but are also omnipresent in every woman known as the ‘homemaker.’ But sadly, many fail to appreciate the inner grace and authority of the women who manage an entire household.
Day 4 – Royal Blue
On the fourth day of Navratri, the cosmic energy of Goddess Kushmanda is remembered with royal blue being the prominent color. This day reminds us to be in touch with our inner energy and strength when faced with turmoil.
Day 5 – Yellow
As one celebrates Navratri’s fifth day, Goddess Skandamata’s love for her son Kartikeya is remembered. The love of a mother is eternal, and the same is depicted through the yellow color that many women deck themselves in on this day, immortalising a mother’s love towards her child.
Day 6 – Green
The sixth day of Navratri recognizes the color green and celebrates Katyayani’s fierceness and fearlessness, as she defeats the demon Mahishasur. Being fearless is a trait often associated with men, and many do not teach their daughters to be fearless but teach them to be agreeable and sacrificial in nature. And so, as we progress in the outside world, many women need more confidence about their abilities despite being highly skilled. It’s time we empower our women to be fearless inside and outside the house.
Day 7 – Grey
As the festival progresses towards the seventh day with grey being the significant color of the day and goddess Kali, the symbol of ruthlessness, is celebrated. And, now and then, women are seen to dawn the fierce and ruthless nature of Kali to fight against the injustice prevalent in society.
Day 8 – Purple
The eighth day of Navratri, called Ashtami, is known as the day of Maha Gauri, which stands for sacrifice. The purple color, prominently worn on this day, symbolizes the sacrifice made by many women from different walks of life.
Day 9 – Peacock Green
On the final day, Navami, goddess Sidhi, dazzling in her peacock-green attire, is worshipped by all, which is symbolic of perfection, prevalent even in the imperfections of a woman in every role that she embodies.
During the nine glorious days of Navratri, we honor and celebrate the unique qualities of women. However, it’s disheartening to see these attributes often forgotten when we should be raising our voices to support women who have experienced harassment or abuse. Why do so many in our society hesitate to take even a small step towards safeguarding and offering refuge to women in distress? The indifference of some towards the hardships of our fellow human beings is truly saddening. It’s high time we dismantle these barriers of oppression and ensure that every woman receives the equitable opportunities she rightly deserves.
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