On September 13, Yuva Gujarat organised a festival for Navaratri at the Westside Indoor Sports Centre, Altona. Yuva Gujarat was established by a young migrant from Gujarat (a state in India) with the intention to maintain, enhance, and promote Gujarati culture and heritage in Australia.

The key mission of Yuva Gujarat is to unite the Gujarati community around Australia and maintain a connection with the rich Gujarati culture. The legend of Garba and Academic award winner, Hemant Chauhan, performed live at the event.

On this auspicious occasion, Tim Watts, Federal Labor Member for Gellibrand was the guest of honour. He shared his thoughts on attending the festival to the audience, commenting “It’s an honour to be a part of this celebration of Indian culture, and it makes me proud to see the Gujarat community in Melbourne celebrating their heritage through festivals such as this.” Tim acknowledged the work of Yuva Gujarat in supporting the Gujarati-Australian community in Melbourne and further added, “I am also proud that the official Vibrant Gujarat team is visiting Melbourne next week, and that my Labor colleagues are hosting a welcome for them at the Parliament of Victoria.”

Navaratri or ‘nine nights’ is a prominent festival in India that is celebrated all over India and is dedicated to the worship of Hindu deity ‘Durga’. Divine mother Durga is known to be the ‘Goddess of Power’, whose worship dates back to prehistoric times. As the name says, this festival is celebrated for nine nights and 10 days; and nine different forms of Shakti/Devi (Power/Deity) are worshipped depending on the region. The tenth day is celebrated as ‘Dussehra’, followed by Diwali-Festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after Dussehra.

Navaratri is celebrated in so many different ways across India. In north India, devotees fast for nine continuous days and worship Goddess Durga. Navaratri is a significant festival in Gujarat and is celebrated with Garba and Dandiya; which are traditional Gujarati dances. The dancing rituals are performed on all nine nights.

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