Navratri celebrations have been taking place across Leicester and Leicestershire, with thousands gathering for nine nights of vibrant and energetic celebrations.
The annual nine day festival, which is widely considered to be one of the most important on the Hindu calendar, began last Monday (September 26), and will continue through until tomorrow (October 4).
Observed in honour of the goddess Durga, the festival consists of plenty of energetic dancing, as well as prayer and feasting.
Hundreds gathered at Leicester’s Platinum Suite on Friday evening (October 1), to take part in the colourful festivities put on by Music Arts.
Due to the pandemic, it was the first time the event had been held in two years, making it “extra special,” said organiser Meera Majithia.
“We have been organising the event for 27 years, so actually that break was a pretty big deal for us, so it’s extra special because it’s the first year we’re back,” she told Pukaar News.
“It’s been nice to see a lot of familiar faces as well.”
Explaining the significance of Navratri, Meera spoke about the “positive, energetic vibes” which are at the centre of the festival.
“Navratri is all about spirituality, it’s all about connection, it’s all about friendships, it’s all about those positive, energetic vibes – like good over evil,” she said.
“It’s one of the reasons why we decided to continue with this event regardless of what was going on externally in the city. It’s really important to always make sure that good always overcomes everything, so we wanted to make sure we gave people the opportunity to participate in this whole event that only happens once a year.”
As part of the celebrations, a ‘Kids Navratri’ event was also held at the Platinum Suite, solely for children.
“This was to give children a platform to learn about the religious aspect of Navratri, but also to give them an opportunity to get dressed and to play,” said Meera.
The celebrations will continue at the Platinum Suite throughout this week, culminating in a ‘Disco Dandia’ event on Saturday night (October 8), complete with lights, a disco ball and lots of Bollywood music.
Other celebrations for Navratri take place at community centres and temples in and around Leicester, including at those at the Peepul Centre and Scraptoft Lodge Farm.
Shree Prajapati Association has been hosting its own Navatri celebrations at its building in Ulverscroft Road, complete with a live band. The celebrations are set to conclude tomorrow night.