“Gollu” is the arrangement-cum-exhibition of dolls done as a ceremony to mark Dusshera or Navarathiri celebrations.
After Diwali, this is one of my favorite festivals. Earlier, the reason was – I get to visit my friends’/relatives’ places, sing a carnatic song and get some goodies to eat. Have discussion with uncles/aunts on raagas, thaalas, different style of singing and of course my music teacher would be a topic too. If four of my school friends join, then it would be an enchanting song with a combination of low and high notes. No wonder they made us the school choir!
I stopped visiting as time flew, but I like the festival still as its a good expression of our culture, tradition and ancient knowledge. This gives a chance for women folks to collaborate. Also, Its been a practice to give gifts to folks who visit your house. Earlier, it was a small packet of “Sundal” (snack made out of beans/grams etc). Then it was a full “dressing pack” that includes comb, mirror, kumkum (maroon powder that ladies adorn their foreheads with) and turmeric. I still remember packing the kumkum in small plastic containers in my yester years. Later, life was simple by readily packed containers. Then to make it cheaper they started packing in plastic covers.
These days the trend has further evolved – when I went home, I saw a pile of new plastic boxes received as gifts. It seems the motto is to give something useful. The items can be anything like handy utensils, hair clips, show-piece(s), blouse piece(s), basket etc. Its nice to know that people are willing to give (even if the item has come as a gift from someone else). Innovative theme(s) on Gollu is another driving factor. Dolls (both old and new) are kept for display. Usual items comprise of “10 Avatars” in Hinduism, Thanjavur dolls, Marapachhi dolls. Rangolis, parks, cities, towns, and spiritual places are also depicted. Lights, decoration with flowers and wind chimes add glamour to the scene.
I cannot have better reasons to like this custom!!
Shady side of this
1. Pumpkins – They burst pumpkins on raods with the belief that it will ward off the evil omen casted by jealousy eyes. This is a hazard for two wheelers. I got a comment that earlier atleast cows would consume the pumpkins. These days it’s very rare.
2. Blaring loudspeakers – Another mode of festive expression is loud cini/devotional songs. The effect is more if your house is near to a temple or an auto stand!
After all, good things come with a package isn’t?