The Nine Colors of Navratri

It is almost the end of the second day of Navratri. There are no Garba venues to go to now, but how is your Navratri going so far? Or was it just weekend BAU? I haven’t been to a Garba venue or have gone dancing during the festival for about 10 years now. The last time I danced Garba, was in 2010, at the Ratri Before Navratri event in my college. I remember clearly, I had recently got a hang of ironing my clothes and had burnt a hole the size of my iron on my ghaghra that evening as I was preparing to get dressed for the night. I had cried, I loved that ghaghra, and had never worn it before. I still have it, and it still breaks my heart to see it. I was never someone who would go dancing all nine nights or spend a lot of time getting dressed, I just needed like 20 minutes and I was done. We never used to buy a lot of dresses. Ghaghra cholis bought one year would last a few years, and I would go dancing only on the eights and ninth days. Over the years, the venues have changed considerably with expensive exclusive passes, separate passes for viewing and dancing, venues with a separate section for food, and not just basics but a pretty lot of fancy food, and so much more.

This Navratri I am exploring some of the stories and aspects of Navratri that we don’t usually know, things that our grandmothers would tell us when we visit them on vacations. I have had no such experience as a child, so, now as an adult, I am discovering these stories myself, and it is a really fun experience. There is a wealth of traditions, stories, practices that I had no idea about. I am also hooked to RJ Dhvanit’s Garba of the Day pieces that he posts on Instagram every day. In these sections, he talks about popular Garba songs and folk music in Gujarat, songs that we know, but most likely their meanings we don’t know. Like ‘Mehndi te vavi’, ‘Radha vina Shyam’, etc. Do check it out if you haven’t already.

Yesterday we talked about the nine Goddesses of Navratri – the nine forms of Goddess Durga that are worshipped on each day of Navratri, what their gifts for us are, and what are the specific offerings for them. Today, we will talk about the nine colors of Navratri. Not the colors of chaniya-cholis available, but the unique colors for each day of the Navratri. Just as every day of Navratri is dedicated to a specific Goddess or form of Adi Shakti, every day also has its unique color. Wearing these colors is believed to bring peace and harmony, and will help you feel closer to the Goddess as well as feel a sense of calm.

I’ll add a disclaimer here. Different cultures and different communities have different versions of these. Thus, you could have heard about a different set of colors followed in your family, or you could encounter other articles somewhere that list a different set of colors for the nine days. There is a possibility your grandmother might not agree with the list below. The thing here is, all the versions are right, and all sets of colors are right. As I said, there are many regional and communal variations in beliefs and practices, so you’ll find differences. And it is ok. India is a country of diversity, so there is no one right answer here. If you find another version, do share it with me, I would love to find out more about it and learn, one should never stop learning, ever. These are just the colors I have learned about since I was a kid, you could have learnt a different one, and yours is just as right as mine.

So, let’s explore these colors of the colorful Navratri festival –

Day 1 – Orange

The color for the first day of Navratri is Orange. Orange stands for energy and happiness, and that is the perfect note to begin the Navratri festival on. It is a vibrant color that brings so much joy. The color is also according to the Goddess worshipped on the day – Goddess Shailputri – the daughter of the mountains.

Day 2 – White

The second day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini, who signifies bachelorhood and purity, and hence, the color for the day is white. White is considered to be a very pious and pure color and stands for peace and calm. Goddess Brahmacharini also always wears white as a symbol of purity and meditation. The Goddess is also an epitome of love, and white is the perfect color to signify that.

Day 3 – Red

The day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Chandraghanta. The Goddess rewards devotees with grace, bravery, and courage; and red is a color that signifies all these qualities. Red stands for beauty and fearlessness. Red is a very powerful color, and it is a color that unites us all. Moreover, the color also stands for courage. So, go on, plan to wear red on day three.

Day 4 – Royal Blue

The fourth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Kushmanda, also known as the Ashtabhuja Devi. The color for this day is Royal Blue. The Goddess blesses devotees with good health and prosperity, and the royal blue color signifies both these attributes perfectly. Royal blue is not just a royal color, it is a very calm and cool color, and symbolizes good health, tranquility, and abundance.

Day 5 – Yellow

The fifth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Skandamata, who signifies motherhood, as the mother of Lord Karthikeya. The color for the fifth day of Navratri is yellow. The yellow color symbolizes happiness and brightness. It is a vibrant color associated with new beginnings, auspiciousness, and abundance. Generally, yellow is also the color most new parents are advised (by doctors, elders, etc.) to buy for their babies as it is a color signifying happiness and warmth.

Day 6 – Green

The sixth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani, the slayer of the tyrannical demon Mahishasura. This Goddess is the fierce form of Goddess Durga and is a warrior Goddess. The day signifies new beginnings and growth, both attributes signified by the color of the day – Green. Green is the color of vegetation and it signifies freshness, a new start.

Day 7 – Grey

Grey is not a color you usually see on auspicious occasions, but it is the color for the seventh day of Navratri. Though it is lesser-known, and quite a close cousin of the color considered very inauspicious and dark – black, grey is still a very auspicious color. Grey symbolizes strength and transformation. The seventh day or Saptami is dedicated to Goddess Kaalratri who is the destroyer of evil spirits, demons, ghosts, and negative energies. The Goddess symbolizes strength and is also known as Shubankari who always blesses her devotees with the best of everything. And grey is the perfect color for the day.

Day 8 – Pink

This is the most auspicious day of all the days of Navratri. It is also my favorite day to go to Garba venues as for this day the venues are decked up even more than the other days, there are diyas during the Maha Aarti, and Rangoli, and lots of beautiful décor. The day is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri, and the color for the day is Pink. Pink signifies hope and freshness. Goddess Mahagauri is believed to have the power to fulfill all the desires of her devotees, and the pink color is perfect for the day to signify these attributes.

Day 9 – Purple

The last day of Navratri is the Navami, and it is dedicated to the Goddess Siddhidhatri. The Goddess beholds many unique siddhis or powers and has the power to bless her devotees with these unique siddhis. The Goddess is one half of the Ardhanarishwar form of Lord Shiva. The color purple is associated with ambition, knowledge, and power, and is perfect for the day.

These are the nine colors of Navratri as I know. Does your family or community follow any such traditions? Tell me more in the comments or you can find me on Instagram at my handle @banjaranfoodie. You can find my feed in the band below this blog.

Penny for your thoughts!