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Navratri / Garba Festival in Jersey City – Free
September 30, 2022 @ 7:15 pm - 10:15 pm GMT-0400
Every year in Jersey City, along Newark Avenue, there is a huge Navratri / Garba Festival that draws more than 10,000 people. It is free and excellent, and is sponsored by the Jersey City Asian Merchant Association, also known as “India Square”.
From the official website: “Newark Avenue, in the township of Jersey City, New Jersey sets a unique example during **Navratri, where more than fifteen thousand men, women and children play Garba-Raas on the street, all throughout the night, every night for 4-6 nights – a rare spectacle to be observed**.” Website address: [http://www.indiasquare.org](http://www.indiasquare.org)
2021 Navratri Photos: [https://www.nj.com/hudson/2021/10/thousands-dance-in-the-streets-to-celebrate-festival-of-navratri-in-nj-photos.html](https://www.nj.com/hudson/2021/10/thousands-dance-in-the-streets-to-celebrate-festival-of-navratri-in-nj-photos.html)
**Directions and WHERE TO MEET US:** **Take the PATH train to Journal Square in Jersey City. From Manhattan you can get on the JOURNAL SQUARE-bound train (NOT the Hoboken train) at 33rd Street & 6th Avenue (in the 34th Street subway station), or at other Manhattan PATH train stops.** When you exit the Journal Square PATH Train station, you will be directly on John F Kennedy Blvd. **Walk north along John F Kennedy Blvd three blocks to Newark Ave.** That is where the Garba/Navratri Festival is.
Cross Newark Avenue. **You will see a big White Castle Restaurant — on the corner of Newark Ave and John F Kennedy Blvd (it is on John F Kennedy Blvd). Do NOT go inside the White Castle. Our group will be meeting between 7:15pm and 7:30pm IN FRONT OF the White Castle at 2995 John F Kennedy Blvd. We will be holding a “VEG MEETUP” sign. Don’t be late!** After meeting, we will all walk a few feet to the Garba/Navratri Festival on Newark Avenue.
**See you there, in front of the White Castle, between 7:15pm and 7:30pm. Don’t go inside the White Castle, instead meet us right in front of it. Don’t be late! Arrive early if you are unsure of your timing.**
**Dinner:** There are many Indian restaurants up and down Newark Avenue. At some point we will be picking up some take-out food. And feel free to grab something to eat at anytime, just for yourself. There are many, many vegetarian and vegan options in the many restaurants, and numerous restaurants are all-vegetarian (though not all-vegan, so check your specific item before ordering).
Karthik and David
Description of Navratri and Garba
Description of Navratri and Garba
Navratri, Where nav means nine and ratri means nights…
Navratri festival sacred to the Mother Goddess is celebrated in the months of October and November. It is a festival of worship, dance and music celebrated over a period of nine nights. It is celebrated from the first to the ninth date of Ashwin Shukla Paksha of the Hindu Calendar for the worship of the Goddess Durga. This festival commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over a demon, Mahishasur.
During Navratri, devotees of Durga fast and pray for health and prosperity. It is an occasion for vibrant festivities. The Garba or Dandiya Raas is the most significant feature during the festival of Navratri. This is the traditional and folk dance of the state of Gujarat, but today, everyone performs this dance with great fervor and enthusiasm. During the dance, a decorated pot is ceremoniously placed with a light inside and the women folk dance in a circle, singing ‘traditional songs’ or ‘garbas’.
Then there is a pooja on each day of this holy period where Goddess Durga, known in this state as Ambe Maa is worshipped for prosperity and happiness. During all the nine nights, men, women and children flock together in the street and peform Garba-Raas in circumambulation around the statue of devi, accompanied by religious songs eulogizing the Mother-Goddess in tune with instrumental music till late night which has deep socio-religious impact on the Hindu society. A Mandvi of the Goddess is framed by woodcarving in which a small idol of Mother Goddess is placed with a number of ghee lamps. The devotees put this Mandvi on their heads and maintaining balance, perform Garba-dance.
Gujarat is the cardinal center for the celebration of Navratri Mahotsava, where young men and women wearing traditional attire dance with zeal, joy, jubilation and devotional fervor, till late mid-night. Out of the nine forms of Mother-Goddess, the triumvirate of Mahakali, Maha-Laxmi and Maha-Sarasvati symbolize prowess, affluence and erudition – the most essential things for the prosperity and progress of mankind. the Mother-Goddess grants all these three to the devotees who observe Navratri in right spirit.
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