Navaratri is a Hindu festival spanning nine nights every autumn. It is observed for many reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Hindu Indian cultural sphere. Staff and residents at Birchwood Grange celebrated the festival with plenty of traditional Indian food, music and dancing. Residents got involved by joining staff dancing with the Dandya (two decorated sticks); traditionally, those involved dance in a circle, regularly tapping the opposite person’s stick.
Home Manager, Linda Simpson, explained, “We lit a candle called Aarti; this is presented to the Gods whilst prayers are read from the Jai Adhyashakti Aarti.” Traditional Indian dress is worn throughout the celebrations, which fills the home with vibrancy and beautiful colours. On the final day of celebrations, Indian savoury food was prepared to present to the Gods, accompanied by special prayers. The festivities were enjoyed by all at the home, with Linda adding, “We are still dancing!”