Navratri will be celebrated from Thursday across India, and celebrities have shared some of their favourite memories related to the festival.
Entrepreneur Sneh Binny feels like it’s been ages since he celebrated Navratri. “I’m a Gujarati, so we used to celebrate it every year at NSCI private banquet. I don’t fast, but my mom does. While celebrating the festival, we all wear colourful kurtas,” he said.
Designer Anjali Phougat’s fondest memory of Navratri is going to play garba and dancing in groups. “I do fast sometimes, for two days,” shared the designer, who likes to dress up in Indian bright coloured kurtis and sharara for the festival. “For garba, I prefer wearing a flared lehenga,” she said.
Bollywood Diaries actor Salim Diwan considers Navratri to be a festival of joy and love. “When I was kid, I used to play garba and dandiya with my friends all night and forget about everything. That childhood memory comes in my mind during every Navratri, and seriously it was awesome. I don’t fast during Navratri, but I prefer wearing nine different colours of attire for 9 days of Navratri and celebrate with my friends to make the festival more memorable and joyful,” he said.
Ziddi Dil Maane Na actress Kavveri Priiyam shared that in her hometown, Jharkhand, Navratri is celebrated in a very grand way and on all the 9 days, they have poojas at their place. “There are pandals set up at different places, and you can hear the loud speakers chanting all the mantras to please the Goddess. There are days where we go out and chill with the family at pandals and they serve the special khichdi there which is so yummy. I just love that khichdi. I wish I could go back to my hometown and stay there for Navratri specially and have that khichdi because it has got that special taste which I can’t describe. My mom fasts on the 8th and 9th day of the pooja. We pray to the Goddess together,” she said.
As for clothes, she prefers wearing traditional attire. “Something like lehenga choli and could be a saree. Basically, I like to spend time with family and friends on these special occasions,” she said.
Producer Nivedita Basu isn’t big on celebrating Navratri. “For us it’s not Navratri, it’s mostly Durga Pooja. In Bengal and south India, I don’t think there’s any concept of fasting, so we don’t really fast on Navratri, but it’s more like eating good food,” she said. “Navratri coincides with Durga Pooja, so obviously I want to wear a traditional outfit. I can’t carry a saree very well, so I look at more Indo-western,” she added.
Mrs Kaushik Ki Paanch Bahuein actress Ragini Nandwani’s fondest memories are the dandiya celebrations. “Things have definitely changed because of the pandemic, so it’s celebrated with personal safety, keeping the pandemic in mind, so things are definitely not the same. I fast on the last day. That’s what I have been following since childhood,” she said. She usually prefers Indian outfits because she thinks festivals need to have that traditional feel, so she mostly wears salwar kameez.
For actress Delnaaz Irani, Navratri is something which is filled with fun and colours, vibrancy and doing a lot of events. “I have been going out of town, going for the garba events for the past many years. Of course because of the pandemic now, since the last two years we have not been traveling, but it was more of a professional thing. As kids, we would enjoy going to all these garba events. And not that you know, Parsis usually don’t fast for Navratri, so it’s not a very mandatory thing and we’ve not been doing that, but yes I take part in all the society functions. But I don’t think I’ve done that for many years now, because I’ve gone for garba events as a celebrity guest, especially Gujarat because I remember going to Surat for all these years or Ahmedabad or Baroda or places in Rajasthan. It’s been more of a professional thing than enjoying with family or friends for so many years. This year, my building has planned something, so yeah I am going to take part in all the activities in the society and am going to be an active member there, as far as the festivities are concerned,” she said. She is not fond of ghagra-cholis, so she will wear a nice suit or maybe a saree.
Kawach 2 actress Pranitaa Pandit said that last year, Navratri was very dull. This year she is sure things are going to be better. “I love visiting the Pandals and eating yummy food and going out with friends. Best part about Navratri is that you bump into so many people you know, especially when you go for a pandal pooja and all these places where the whole Navratri function is happening. Also, I remember shooting while Navratri was going on and those Navratri sequences where you wear these beautiful ghagras and dance around. It has always been a lot of fun.
One of my first shows where I dressed up for a Navratri event, it was a very good memory because I remember for the first time I wore ghagra of mirror sequins and played dandiya,” she shared. She likes wearing very light and colourful clothes. “I just want it to be very simple and Indian. It can be a nice coloured saree or a very bright lehenga. So that is my favourite look for Navratri,” she said.
Mahabharat fame actor Arpit Ranka thinks that Navratri is something that everyone enjoys. “And because of the pandemic, we’re not able to celebrate Navratri. Navratri is a festival we celebrate with our family. At home, we have pooja. I used to do fasting for all 9 days, but now because of my work, shooting I’m not able to do it. From where I belong, Rajasthan, they celebrate this festival in a grand way. I still remember, as kids, every night I used to play dandiya with friends. We used to enjoy it so well that we didn’t realise how 9 days just went by. But I believe that there’s a logic behind fasting. Nowadays people don’t actually celebrate festivals with beliefs but celebrate it by pretending or showing off,” said the actor, who shared that usually, people wear kurta-pyjamas for the occasion.
Walking down memory lane, Thapki Pyaar Ki 2 actor Aakash Ahuja said, “We used to be kids and my mother used to send us to our two different relatives’ houses. In Delhi, there’s a tradition of ‘kanjak’, so we used to go and have prasad and we used to get money. That was a very exciting part of our life back then. I do fast on the first day and the last day.” He prefers wearing Indian outfits because he thinks that people hardly get to wear kurta pajama, and Diwali and Navratri are such festivals where you get that excuse to wear Indian wear.