The Colours of Navratri
Today see's the start of the 9-day Hindu Autumn Festival of Navratri. Like all religious festivals there are variations in how different Hindus around the world observe it, but there is usually food and fun aplenty, with music, dancing, and prayer. What I find particularly exciting is that each of the nine days have a special significance. They all relate to the nine different incarnations of the Goddess Durga, and on each day one of these nine goddesses is revered. One of the ways this is done is be wearing specific holy colours on each day. I find it really enriching, and exciting that colour has such a cultural and religious significance in the festival. Hindus also celebrate Holi which is The Festival of Colour.' But Hinduism isn't the only religion where colour has a spiritual connection.
(BOTH IMAGES are from Parle Patel (Instagram: PlanetParle)
Colour & Religion
Every colour in the Buddhist flag has a specific purpose and in Tibetan Buddhist art, there are five main colours used for their paintings which are known as 'The Five Pure Lights.'
In the Islamic world, green is the most significant colour, it appears on flags of Muslim countries, and one of the reasons is that it was thought to be the Prophet Muhammed's favourite colour. Who'd have thought that Prophets had fave colours? It's not something I was aware of until I started researching the topic.
Blue and white are the main colours of Judaism and the reasoning is down to nature - blue is the colour of the sea, and sky. It's so wonderful that the beauty of nature is recognised by a major religion. More interestingly though, blue is also regarded by the Jewish community as the colour of equilibrium: a the colour that maintains balance as it's neither dark or light.
In Christianity colours also have a significance and some Christians choose to wear a 'salvation bracelet' made of beads in particular colours, said to represent different Christian values, for example black represents sin, and red represents the blood of Jesus.
These are just examples from the five 'main' religions in the world but no doubt other religions too place meaning on colour.
Let's go back to Navratri. What are the nine colours that are significant for each of the the nine days? The colours change each year, depending on what day they fall and wearing them is said to bring good luck.
I looked at five different websites to find out what the colours are for 2020: Times of India, Mumbai Mirror, The Free Press Journal, The Art Of Living, India Today and there were variations in what they said the colours are for 2020. Some included pink, others didn't, some had two kinds of blue, and two kinds of green, so I can't confirm the definite colours, but to give you an example, below is the type of thing you can expect. I don't know for sure, but perhaps at the beginning when I mentioned that Hindus in different parts of the word celebrate it slightly differently there may be some variation in colours but this is pretty normal in all religions. For example in Christianity some parts of the world celebrate Christmas on December 24, some the 25th and some on a different date altogether. Whatever the reason, it's still absolutely fascinating that colour plays such a significant role in this festival and many others around the word.
Navratri colours for 2020? I could only find variations of answers but here's one of them:
DAY 1: 17 October - Goddess Shailaputri - GREY
DAY 2: 18 October - Goddess Brahmacharini - ORANGE
DAY 3: 19 October - Goddess Chandraghanta - WHITE
DAY 4: 20 October - Goddess Kushmanda - RED
DAY 5: 21 October - Goddess Skandamata - ROYAL BLUE
DAY 6: 22 October - Goddess Katyayani - YELLOW
DAY 7: 23 October - Goddess Kalaratri - GREEN
DAY 8: 24 October - Goddess Mahagauri - PURPLE
DAY 9: 25 October - Goddess Siddhidhatri - PEACOCK GREEN
Thank you Parle Patel for the images. Parle is a Gujarati Producer, Presenter and Performer who shares and discusses Gujarati culture on his social platform,s and in the content he creates, much of which will make you chuckle as he's a brilliant comedian too. Check him out!