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By ALLAUDIN QURESHI
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Kenya’s dancing star contestants gathered at Sri Sanatan Dharma Sabha (SSDS) grounds, Lower Kabete, last evening, putting their best feet forward to impress visiting Bollywood choreographer, dancer and celebrity judge Ganesh Acharya.

This novel dance competition cum exposition presented by Dreams Performance Ltd serves as a curtain raiser and paves the way to a revered annual festivity of dusk to dawn dancing joy — you guessed it right, Navratri commences on Tuesday October 9, this year.

It is the time of the year when the Mother Goddess — Maa Ambe — is honoured in all her manifestations that include Durga, Lakhshmi and Saraswati. Navratri, the nine nights of paying homage to the Goddess and swinging into joy, are here as in the rest of the world where Hinduism is revered.

In Kenya, the faithful observe this festivity with dawn-to-dusk prayers and hymns, glorifying the various attributes of the deity and thereafter dancing at temples, social halls and cultural sites. Dancing traditional Garba Raas is a special feature of the celebration as it sets the right festive mood.

The Dandias — sticks held by dancers during the performance — represent the sword of Goddess Durga and a demonstration of mock fights between the Goddess and the demon Mahishasura.

Men and women wearing traditional attire normally dance in circles in rhythmic manner as the traditional musicians provide the essential beat and songs to mesmerise the dancers and those watching the spectacle. The finale of Navratri represents victory of good and virtue over forces of evil.

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This year, as we wait to swing and receive Maa Ambe’s blessings, there is a Kirtan Mela 2018 — A 36-hour chanting, dancing and feasting religious fiesta being offered to participate in and feel elated.

Internationally renowned Kirtanya’s — chanters’ singers and musicians — have been mesmerising Nairobians with their holy chants of Hare Rama, Hare Krishna since last Friday evening at the Hare Krishna Temple, Ngara.

The chanting is for peace, for overcoming the challenging times we are facing, and for seeking interfaith and intercommunal harmony. The chanting fiesta is on until late tonight and the Iskon Temple, Ngara, invites and welcomes one and all to participate in this sacred happening.

You are welcome to join the congregation in chanting and singing or join the faithful in having breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Enjoy spiritual happiness while letting yourself dance to the beat of Kirtanya musicians as we wait for the curtain to go up for Navratri blessings.



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