“One of our biggest traditions as a Bengali is that of Navratri, or the return of our goddess Durga to her parent’s home for nine days. During this time, it’s similar to lent where we give up certain foods and worldly possessions. We pray in elaborate ceremonies, see loved ones and enjoy good food on the 8th and 9th days. We pray that her power as a female goddess never diminishes and that we children can too possess her strength and resilience.”
This tradition is very important for the informant because it is a time when her whole family always comes together, and she can observe the “rules” of Navratri even when she’s away at school, so in that way it serves as a connection to her home and her family. It seems like more of a family-oriented tradition than lent, which she compares it to, because families pray together throughout and have celebration feasts on the 8th and 9th days, while for lent Easter, the final celebration, is only one day. This may be due to the fact that the tradition is based on Durga returning home for nine days, in a sense returning to family and togetherness. Even though they are giving up certain foods and possessions, it’s more celebratory than lent. The sacrifices are meant to honor the goddess in hopes that her good qualities will be bestowed upon the children, so it’s a very youth oriented holiday, meant to ensure better things in the future.