Navratri celebrated at Parsippany Hills High School

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Navratri is a hindu festival celebrated during the fall every year. It means ‘nine nights’. The festival is performed to worship the Goddess Durga and celebrate her victory over a rakshas(demon) Mahishasura. Many hindus fast and pray during this time and also participate in Garba, a community folk dance. During Garba, the women and men dress in traditional clothing, and meet at the location where dancing is to take place. Many times professional singers and musicians are brought in to lead the event. The dance is performed in a circular formation. The picture or the idol of the Goddess would usually be placed at the center of the circle with a diya (lamp). Prayers are performed to the Goddess to grant people strength.

Garba is also accompanied by another dance called Raas. Raas is performed with sticks clacking against each other with two columns moving in an organized circular formation around the center. Raas is also attributed to Lord Krishna, who is famous for reciting the Bhagavad Gita. In the eastern part of India in Bengal, the last four days are celebrated as Durga Puja. In India, the celebrations last well into the night, and the communities gather on common grounds with much pomp and fanfare.

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