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Ayudha Pooja

In some places it is called Dussehra, in some other places `Kalipuja' or `Saraswathi Puja' and in still others, `Ayudha Puja'. It is because of the Divine Mother is worshipped in her different manifestations namely Durga, Saraswathi, Kali, etc. The Puja in connection with Navarathri is known as Bhuvaneswari puja that means the worship of `Universal Mother'.

The last three days of the Navarathri are called Durgashtami, Mahanavami and Vijayadasami, and they are considered more sacred than the other days for Devi worship.

ayudhapooja1

During these days, Saraswathi puja and Ayudha Puja are performed. The Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped as the Goddess of Learning, the deity of Gayathri, the fountain of fine arts and science, and the symbol of supreme vedantic knowledge. The importance of Ayudha Puja (the worship of implements) on this occasion may be due to the fact that on the Vijayadasami day, Arjuna took his weapons, which he had hidden in a Vani tree in order to lead a life in disguise for the promised period of exile. It is believed that one who begins or renovates his learning to work on the Vijayadasami day will secure a grand success as Arjuna did in Kurukshetra war.

On the Durgashtami day a ceremony called Poojavaipu is performed in the evening.
The books and grandhas (holy books) are neatly arranged with a picture or an image of Goddess Saraswathi in front. Then a Puja is performed to Saraswathi during which fruits, beaten rice, roasted paddy (malar), jaggery etc, are offered to Her. These offerings are distributed among those present when the Puja is over. Just before the Pujavaipu, all studies and workare suspended.

On the Vijayadasami day after a Puja in the morning, the Books and implements are removed from the room and this ceremony is called `Puja Eduppu'. The time for the break up of the puja marks the beginning of learning and work. Learning and work commence at this auspicious moment.

Vijayadashami is also celebrated as the day of victory to rejoice about Durga's triumph over the demons led by Mahishasura. It is essentially a festival in honor of Durga, another name for Parvathi, Lord Shiva's wife. Therefore the famous 'Durga Puja' is carried out on this day.

Ezhuthinu Iruthu' or 'Vidyarambham' is performed at this auspicious day. The children for the first time are given instructions to write the first few alphabets on rice or sand and according to custom only after this ceremony child becomes entitled to write or read.

Kolu

Bommai Kolu is traditionally a women's festival that Tamilians celebrate during Dasshera. Every year, a series of steps is set up and kolu bommai or dolls are displayed. These dolls typically depict gods or village scenes and weddings. A kolu can be as simple or as elaborate as one likes. The woman of the house invites other women to come inspect the kolu, eat a few snacks, exchange a little gossip and go home with a couple of small goodies.

ayudhapooja

During this time, the girls and women make rounds from house to house during those nine days of Navrathri. Sundal is a delicious confection made from bean sprouts and coconut that is traditionally served at kolu. Women set up decorated planks in a corner and place on it all the dolls in the house. This beautiful clay figurines of gods and goddesses are worshipped during Navaratri, viewing art as Divinity. Women traditionally exchange gifts of coconuts, clothes and sweets.

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