Exploring Cultures: The Festival of Hindu Navratri

This year, in the last week of September and the first week of October, the festival of Hindu Navratri occurred. “Navratri” directly translates into English as “nine nights.” That being said, the festival consists of nine nights of dance, food, and music. With electric and high beat drum tunes and perpetual pounding of feet, this energetic celebration is key in experiencing Hindu culture.

However, this festival isn’t something that only Hindus are allowed to partake in. Everyone of different backgrounds, cultures, and religions are welcome to dance barefoot with dandiyaan, sticks that are used during the dance. The dance is not that difficult either, as it is rhythmic and patterned. It’s also a good cardiovascular exercise! The circular motions of your arms and the linear pathways carved by your feet will get your heart beating to the high-paced rhythm. Not to mention, the traditional clothing worn during this dance, such as this:

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One would think dresses like these would impede movement, but they actually make dancing very easy. The skirts for women and the loose pants for men allow the feet to move freely in any desired direction. Not to mention, you will look stunning in dresses like these! You can usually borrow them from a friend who could possibly have some, or order them online. If you need a makeshift dress, ladies, simply take a long skirt, a scarf, and a solid color shirt and tie it in this manner. Men can just dress up formally in Western attire or borrow an outfit from a friend. Like I said before, anyone can participate and they probably have all the materials they require! The dance portion of the festival is usually done at a Hindu temple. Find the closest one to you, and head on over. The people there are always very welcoming.

I hope this article encourages you once again to cross cultural barriers and experience the zest of the globe. Use your youth to really grasp and latch on to what other people think and how we differ as humans. You might find that there are more similarities among us than differences. The cultures of the world can always shock you!