Bommala Koluvu, Navaratri Golu, Bommai Kolu, Bombe Habba, or Bomma Gullu is a doll and figurine display festival celebrated during navaratri festival in Southern India. It is a custom in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala including few Tamil communities within Sri Lanka.
Bommai Kolu means divine presence
Bommala Koluvu means Court of Toys
Bombe Habba means Doll Festival
It is a part of Dussera celebration where young girls and women display court life, dolls and figurine. Navarathri or nine nights is a time when several South Indian homes feast on colors, music, lights and food. Colorful Golus greet the visitors happily during the festive season, along with beautiful rangoli and lighted lamps. Traditionally dressed women and girls chant slokas and sing songs. The festival gets all the family members together from children to grandparents, with literally every one having a role to play.
When is Navarathri observed?
Navarathri, which is dedicated to the worship of goddess Durga means nine nights. During these ten days and nine nights, nine forms of goddess Durga are worshipped. Tenth day is usually referred to as Dussehra or Vijayadasami. It is celebrated all over India. The Navaratri commences on the first day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashwin. It is celebrated once every year.
On the day of amavasya the arrangements begin by setting up steps, decorating homes and temples as well. All nine days devotees offer prayers, lamps, sweets and sundal along with aartis. On the ninth day, goddess Saraswathi – goddess of knowledge is worshipped by the devotees. Books and musical instruments are placed along with golu and ‘wahana puja’ – worship of vehicles and tools is performed. The day of victory, Vijayadasami is considered auspicious to begin new ventures, start new journeys and learn new skills.
Significance of Golu
Golu is an artistic display of dolls usually on steps made up of wood. As a tradition, dolls displayed on nine steps, which represent nine days of Navarathri. First few steps usually have idols of gods and kalash. Next few steps contain idols of heroes and leaders. Next few steps contain human activities like marriage, temples, business etc. It is custom to add few new dolls every year. Today, Golus also have thematic representation like Ramayana, Krishna leela and so on.
Activities at the Golu
Children usually recite slokas and sing songs during the occasion. Many special dishes like sweets and hot are prepared and offered to god during navarathri. Varied fruits are offered to god. Women exchange beetle leaves along with nuts, fruits, flowers, turmeric and kumkum during these festive days as a tradition.