From Navaratri to Diwali

4 children in colourful sarees perform a traditional dance
Children perform a traditional dance

October was a joyous rollercoaster of festivals for Sheffield’s Hindus. First, there was the Navaratri
(meaning ‘Nine Nights’) festival, and finally the Dusshera festival. Navaratri honours God as the Divine
Mother, whom Hindus worship with many names: Durga – Goddess of Strength, Jagadamma – Mother of the World, Lakshmi – Goddess of Abundance, Kali – the Black and Timeless One, among others. During Navaratri the Hindu Samaj Centre celebrated the beautiful Bathukamma flower festival for
the first time. Bathukamma means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’ in Telugu. This festival from India’s
Telangana region involved dancing around flower stacks that symbolise the Goddess. On 13th October, Aastha Over 50s Group held their annual storytelling afternoon, as part of Sheffield’s Off the Shelf festival. This year’s topic was ‘Sacred Mountains’. Pandit Ashwini Kumar explained the spiritual significance of mountains and the many lessons that they teach, followed by my own retellings of Hindu tales of sacred mountains. Over a delicious meal cooked by Aastha members, there was an interfaith discussion about the importance of mountains in different traditions. Navaratri ended on 11th October
with Dusshera, when the triumph of good over evil is celebrated because on this day Lord Rama defeated the ten-headed demon-king Ravana and the Mother Goddess defeated the buffalo-demon Mahishasura.
On 22nd October a Mata ki Chawkior ‘devotional prayers and songs in praise of the Divine Mother’,
was held and after ritual worship, professional musicians led everyone in singing inspirational spiritual
songs. For many Hindus, Diwali the Festival of Lights is the year’s main celebration. This year it fell on 29th October. Police Commissioner Alan Billings was the special guest and witnessed a crowded cultural programme in which children performed many dances and gave a shadow puppet show based on the Ramayana epic. Certificates and trophies were awarded including special trophies for selfless community service for Chandeep Singh (who runs an excellent holistic yoga class), and to Hina Patel (who coordinates the Bal Gokulam Sunday morning class educating Hindu children). George & Brian Rising to the occasion by Edgar Lowman  A balloon, for me? Oops… That didn’t goOctober was a joyous rollercoaster of festivals for Sheffield’s Hindus. First, there was the Navaratri (meaning ‘Nine Nights’) festival, and finally the Dusshera festival. Navaratri honours God as the Divine Mother, whom Hindus worship with many names: Durga – Goddess of Strength, Jagadamma – Mother of the World, Lakshmi – Goddess of Abundance, Kali – the Black and Timeless One, among others. During Navaratri the Hindu Samaj Centre celebrated the beautiful Bathukamma flower festival for the first time. Bathukamma means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’ in Telugu. This festival from India’s Telangana region involved dancing around flower stacks that symbolise the Goddess. On 13th October, Aastha Over 50s Group held their annual storytelling afternoon, as part of Sheffield’s Off the Shelf festival. This year’s topic was ‘Sacred Mountains’. Pandit Ashwini Kumar explained the spiritual significance of mountains and the many lessons that they teach, followed by my own retellings of Hindu tales of sacred mountains. Over a delicious meal cooked by Aastha members, there was an interfaith discussion about the importance of mountains in different traditions. Navaratri ended on 11th October with Dusshera, when the triumph of
good over evil is celebrated because on this day Lord Rama defeated the ten-headed demon-king Ravana and the Mother Goddess defeated the buffalo-demon Mahishasura. On 22nd October a Mata ki Chawki
or ‘devotional prayers and songs in praise of the Divine Mother’, was held and after ritual worship, professional musicians led everyone in singing inspirational spiritual songs. For many Hindus, Diwali the Festival of Lights is the year’s main celebration. This year it fell on 29th October. Police Commissioner Alan Billings was the special guest and witnessed a crowded cultural programme in
which children performed many dances and gave a shadow puppet show based on the Ramayana epic.
Certificates and trophies were awarded including special trophies for selfless community service for Chandeep Singh (who runs an excellent holistic yoga class), and to Hina Patel (who coordinates the Bal Gokulam Sunday morning class educating Hindu children).

An Asian man in colourful Hindu ceremonial robes
Pandit Ashwini by Debjani Chatterjee
Big cakes style piles of flowers
Floral displays for Bathukamma by Debjani Chatterjee
4 children in colourful sarees perform a traditional dance
Children perform a traditional dance
4 little girl ballerinas crouch down during their dance
Being adorable