The Navratri festival is held to venerate three Hindu goddesses: Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati. ‘Nava’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ means ‘night’ – and, as per the name, the festival is spread over ‘nine nights’ (or days). Navaratri is primarily celebrated by women, as they are the ones who organise the festivities and take part in them. Different state celebrate them differently: with Kolu, a display of dolls, In Tamil Nadu, with Durga Puja in West Bengal; garba raas and dandiya raas in Gujarat; and Ram Lila in Uttar Padesh.

The day following Navaratri, which is called Vijaya Dashami, is a time for new beginnings. Children are often given their first lesson or class in art forms such as music and dance on this day.

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