‘Every year for 9 days my family celebrates a festival called Navaratri. My mom (especially where she’s from in South India, a town called Chennai) has a ton of dolls that she puts on steps in our house called ‘Golu’ to tell stories. The steps are basically a showcase of stories of all the Hindu gods. Some people have really small steps and not many Golus, but my mom loves to go all out… The festival involves Pujas to celebrate the goddess Durga who is practically the mother goddess Mahadevi. She is known for protection and motherhood. Durga is celebrated for 9 days and nights because we’re told she killed the demon Mahishasura.’ – HP

HP has grown up celebrating Navaratri ever since she can remember. She enjoys celebrating this festival, as it’s a time where her friends and family come over to eat and talk, celebrate and do a puja. They gather around to see all the dolls. When she was younger she loved to see the different stories her mom would create with the dolls and put on the steps. Every time she visits India, her mom always buys a new doll for the Golu, so throughout her life, she has accumulated many. She wants to carry out this tradition for the rest of her life and share it with her own loved ones and future family. Its a way to show creativity with faith.

A photo captured in HP’s home of the Golu and dolls during Navaratri

Navaratri is a festival full of culture, heritage, and faith. The festival encompasses many prayers, customs, rituals, and incorporates countless folk beliefs, gestures, and storytelling. This festival includes many folkloristic properties. The stories told from the Golu and to the family and friends who gather around spread and share the heritage and ancestry important in the Hindu religion. Furthermore, many storytellings of Hindu faith, such as about the Gods and Goddesses, are shared, allowing for the audiences to continue to spread these tales, just as HP has done with me. This festival allows for Hindu creativity to bloom and be on display for any and all visitors. HP reminiscing on her past Navaratri holidays show that importance and especially the endurance of this ritual in her life. Additionally, her desire to continue these festivities with her future family encapsulates folklore and its inevitable spread of culture and heritage.