Tuesday 22 September 2009

BOMBE HABBA..............a festival of dolls....

'Bombe' means toys and 'Habba' means festival. Bombe Habba or toy festival is traditionally celebrated by arranging dolls and toys in a rack consisting of 9 steps indicating the Navarathri or 9 nights of celebrations.
During Navratri, it is customary in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & a few parts of Karnataka (specially Mysore) to display "bombe" or "Golu". This is an exhibition of various dolls and figurines in odd (usually 7, 9, or 11) numbered tiers ("padis"). Generally, when people come to a person's house to see the Golu, they are given prasad (the offering given to God that day), kumkum and a small bag of gifts. These are only given to girls and married women. In the evenings, a "kuthuvilakku" (small lamp) is lit, in the middle of a decorated "kolam"(Rangoli), before the Golu and devotional hymns and shlokas are chanted. After performing the puja, the food items that have been prepared, are offered to the Goddesses.
Golu is adorned with dolls - predominantly with that of the Gods and Goddesses depicting mythology. It is a traditional practice to have at least some wooden dolls. There should also be a figurine of a boy and a girl together called 'Marapacchi' Bommai. On the 9th day (Saraswati Puja), special pujas are offered to Goddess Saraswati - the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. Books and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge. Also tools are placed in the pooja - as part of "Ayudha Pooja". Even vehicles are washed and decorated, and puja performed for them.
The 10th day, "Vijayadasami" - is the most auspicious day of all. It was the day on which evil was finally destroyed by good. It marks a new and prosperous beginning. New ventures started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity. Kids often start tutoring on this day to have a head start in their education.
In the evening of "Vijayadasami", any one doll from the "Golu" is symbolically put to sleep and the Kalasam is moved a bit towards North to mark the end of that year's Navaratri Golu. Prayers are offered to thank God for the successful completion of that year's Golu and with a hope of a successful one the next year! Then the Golu is dismantled and packed up for the next year.
Please see a few pictures of one such celebration in our house.

Some more pictures will be shortly uploaded.....


→lisa said...

I love learning new information about your festivals and cultural practices (your post about traditional games comes to mind).

All of these dolls are in your house? That's incredible! What a lot of work setting that up must have been.

I love the wooden pieces - the pink elephant and red kangaroos, and all the little wooden vessels and game pieces.

Unknown said...

Thankyou for sharing this knowledge. I am always interested in how dolls in particular form a part of our lives wherever we are.

Vasudha Narasimhan said...

Thanx for the lovely comments

Pragyan said...

Wow, wonderful collection of dolls! thanks for visiting my blog. What is the significance of the doll display?