In India, Navratri is celebrated in different ways across the country for 9 days, dedicated to different forms of Goddess Durga. While Durga Puja is quite famous, there is another celebration that takes place down south, called Bommia Golu (Divine Presence) or Bommana Koluvu, in other words, the festival of dolls which is just as colourful.
Celebrated in Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, Golu is celebrated during Navratri. During this festival, wooden steps, tiers or padis ranging from 3 to 11, in odd numbers are set up in households and decorated with dolls that depict idols of Gods, Goddesses, animals and mythical creatures.
Along with this, there is also a vibrant Kolam (rangoli) that can be found outside the houses. People visit each others houses with gifts and greetings to see the Golu which has been set up. Little kids help in setting up the Golu steps with their toys which they've been collecting. Landscapes depicting farmlands are also set up in these steps, because some people believe Golu is an ode to mother earth and its fertility.
Tried to take a Navratri break but am too awed by the Golu Pooja & Kanya poojan of the cute little Kumarikas that I attended yesterday!! Had to share as I find it amazing the way we celebrate Navratri across the country.. #Golu pic.twitter.com/oxNWTD2UEB— Kokum Sherbet (@kokumsherbet) October 6, 2019
#Golu festival. What a great way of depicting our culture by means of arranging dolls.— Bhavin Soni (@bsoni_7) October 6, 2019
The first one is from Bhartiya Vidhya Bhavan, Bangalore. The other one is from our apartment. pic.twitter.com/H20cOysDA9
Often, the displayed dolls are passed on from one generation to another, especially the two wooden figurines of a bride and groom, which get new clothes every year before being displayed on Golu.
Always enjoy watching this display of dolls & figurines called #golu celebrated during autumn festive season of Navratri ..The miniature version of everything is just so cute 😊👌 Zoom the pictures to see the details on the figurines 😊 Wishing everyone a very Happy Navratri 🙏 pic.twitter.com/k0BmRC7YmW— Ramya Shetty (@ramyasworld19) October 1, 2019
An annual tradition: attending #Navaratri #golu At my friend and #namesake Chitra Kumar’s house. #ChitraBanerjeeDivakaruni, #Tradition #Friendship #WritingLife #IndianAmericans https://t.co/1vM5MKjCoW pic.twitter.com/i0uz8QtEyJ— Chitra B. Divakaruni (@cdivakaruni) October 7, 2019
Golu is a colourful and beautiful way to celebrate the stories that have been passed down through Indian generations like Ramayana, Puranas, and the Dashavataram. It also gives the members of the family to bond and honours the agricultural and handicrafts professionals in India.