KOCHI: The households in the city are gearing up for the Navarathri festival. Tamil Brahmin households in the city have begun taking out their ‘Bommakollus’ and decorating them. With the end of ‘karutha vaavu’ or new moon day of the month which falls on Wednesday, ‘prathama’ or the first day of Navarathri begins on Thursday. From then on, for nine days, special poojas will be held in temples.
As a tradition, a pot full of water covered with mango leaves and a coconut placed in between them is kept as soon as the ‘vaavu’ is over. This is taken off only on the tenth day-Dashami. The main attraction of the celebrations is the placing of Bommakollus on Wednesday.
Bommakollu is schematic arrangement of the clay idols of different gods on steps built for the purpose. The number of steps can be three, five, seven and so on depending on the space available. Idols are placed on each step, all on the same day, and is taken away only on ‘Dashami’ or the tenth day. The idols of Ashtalakshmi and Dashavatharam are placed at almost all the Bommukullus created for the festival.
The idols which used to be made of clay now come in paper pulp too. The price of these idols range from `60 for simple idols made of clay to `2,000 for big idols made of paper pulp.
T V Parvathy, a member of the Kerala Brahmana Sabha, who sells these idols, says that the number of people buying these idols have neither increased nor decreased. “People who buy them this year, need not buy them the next year. They buy only when there is something new, something they don’t have already,” she said.
“The only difference over the years is that now there are not many joint families and the space to place too the idols too has decreased,” she adds.
The Sabha has been buying clay idols from Tamil Nadu for over a decade now. The Bommakollus are made in villages of Madurai and Coimbatore.
“Earlier, marapachi or idols made of wood were dressed up as girls and boys and placed as Bommakollus. Now, they are not seen in many places,” says Parvathy.
Everyday,in these nine days, one goddess is specially worshipped. On ‘Ashtami’, Kanyakapuja is performed. There will also be a ‘Suhasini pooja’ where nine ‘sumangalis’ or married women will be present. New clothes and ornaments will be given to them as part of the pooja. On the ninth day-Navami, which falls on October 2 this year, books, tools and equipments will be placed for a special pooja which will be taken away on the tenth day with the end of the Navarathri celebrations.
Navami is considered the day for ‘Vidyarambham’ or beginning of learning. Children who wish to start learning dance and music during this time of the year, begin on the day as it is considered auspicious. ENS