Golu Dolls Placement and Removal- Navratri is the celebration of the divine goddess mother. The word Navaratri finds its origin in Sanskrit – Nava meaning Nine and Ratri meaning night. Dusshera or Vijaya Dashmi denotes the last day of the festivities.
Traditional schools divide the nine days into three sets of three days, with each group dedicated to a Goddess. People worship Goddess Durga on the first three days, Goddess Lakshmi, for the next three days, and on the last three days, Goddess Saraswathi.
Navaratri Celebration in the Sub-continent
Navaratri celebration takes various forms in different parts of India. The prominent mentions are the celebrations that happen in the country are Andhrapradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal, Tamilnadu, and Telangana.
- Andhrapradesh and Telangana celebrate the Nine days as Bommala Koluvu meaning – “Court of Toys.”
- In Delhi, the celebrations, including enacting Ramayana, traverse around the Ramlila. On the final day, Ravana’s giant effigy stuffed with crackers is burnt to make the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.
- Gujarati’s celebrate the Navaratri by organizing Gharba, a popular dance form in the state. It is the time of socializing and enjoying life as it is.
- People in Karnataka celebrate the ten-day festival as Gombe Habba. Dussehra is also the state festival of Karnataka, with the celebrations in Mysuru, attracting millions of tourists every year.
- Great devotion with the right mix of high fervor surrounds the nine-day Durga Puja event in West Bengal. Durga Puja is the largest and most widely celebrated festival in the state.
- Tamil Nadu celebrates the nine-day festival as Golu (Kolu or Gollu) Pandagai. Golu means divine presence.
- Whether Golu, Gombe habba, or Bommala Koluvu, the festival is about arranging the dolls showcasing various depictions of gods’ lives and our own.
Significance of Navarathri
Navaratri is the time where the Golu showcase ancient scriptures. The Golu relate to narratives from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Dashavatara, lives of alvars, and many more. Thus, it is also the time of the year to fondly remember the time spent listening to your grandparents narrate those mythological stories.
Besides, Golu is usually handed down through generations, helping you remember your roots, traditions, and customs.
In which direction should we keep Golu Padi?
Building steps or Golu Padi (stage) is one of the critical processes in Navaratri. You can choose to buy the Golu-steps from the stores or use boxes of various sizes to create a make-shift step. The steps should be in odd numbers varying between three to eleven steps, depending on your Golu collection and how you are planning to place them. Cover the steps with a white cloth so that the Golu’s are visible.
Once you place the Golu, you cannot move the Padi until Vijaya Dashami; hence, plan carefully to keep them at a place that does not restrict family members’ movement. It is best to place the Golu stand in the corners of the house facing the east or north direction.
How to place Golu dolls?
Golu dolls placement is an art in itself. Around four days before the festival’s start, people sow seeds of methi, ragi, wheat, or other grains for them sprout. It is known as Mulparai in Tamilnadu. The process signifies a show of respect to gods for blessing a good harvest.
After the building steps and decorating them, the next step is to place dolls or kalasam late in the evening of Mahalaya Amavasya. The first step of the Golu Padi will have the kalasam, which represents the divine goddess Durga. On the flank of the Kalsham are the Marapachi Bommai, i.e., wooden dolls usually gifted during the wedding.
The steps that follow will have idols of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Vishnu, Krishna, Ganesha, Venkateshwara, and other deities. Below the gods, the steps will have statues of saints, heroes of the country, and others, and further below them are the dolls of humans, Chettiar dolls with shop items, animals, and other themed decorations. The last step will usually have the sprouts grown just before the commencing of the festival.
One should draw rangoli every day before the Golu Padi, or you can place different Golu stickers. Lighting lamps beside the Golu padi and performing aarti after offering neivedyam is a must if you keep Golu at home continuing the traditions.
How to remove Golu dolls?
Everything has customs, even removing the Navarathri Golu Dolls. On the last day, i.e., on Vijayadashami, you can displace the kalasham to signify the dolls festival’s end. After moving the kalasham put at least one or more Golu in the sleeping position for the night. You can then carefully pack all the Golu back and dismantle the Padi the following day. Store them carefully, since they will come back to decorate your homes the next year.
You will have to remember the following points before removing Golu dolls.
- Do not start removing Golu on the day of Vijayadashami.
- The evening is not the best time to remove the Golu.
- Offer naivedyam and aarti in the evening before displacing the Kalasham later in the night.
- Remember to move the Kalasham towards the north direction.
- Tuesdays and Fridays are inauspicious to remove Golu from the Golu Padi. If the tenth day is a Friday or Tuesday, offer neivedyam in the morning and put one doll in the lying down position till afternoon. You can then remove the Golu in the evening and dismantle the steps in the evening.
- If your kalasam has water, sprinkle the water on family members and around the house, since it is energized water. You can pour the remaining water into a Tulasi pot or other trees. Do not drain it in a sink or bathroom.
- If you have filled your kalasam with rice, you can use the same to prepare sweet dishes like pal payasam or sweet Pongal. Use the grains and mulparai sprouts in the day to day cooking.
During the festival season, neighbors, friends, and family visit each other on the pretext of taking a look online to buy Golu and the doll arrangement. Still, the real reason is all about bonding and celebrating. Celebrate and nurture your relationships this Navaratri, and vow to continue doing the same for years to come.