Navratri Bommai Kolu Festival is a part of the Dussehra
celebration in South Indian homes. This festival is celebrated on Amavasi day of
month (August-September) in the
On Amavasi day, after the rituals are over, tarpana (libation of water and milk) is offered. Two wooden dolls are specially brought from Tirupati which is an important part of the celebration. These wooden dolls are decorated as bride and groom and are kept for worshipping. Kolu festival begins here. Small idols of gods and goddesses are also kept along with the other dolls.
Dolls, known as Marapachi Bommai, are given to the girl during her marriage and the girl starts the ceremony of Kolu from this day onwards. She adds more and more dolls and displays them on Kolu day.
The festival continues for nine days with prayers daily in the mornings and evenings. It is an occasion for ladies, where they are invited and offered Haldi Kumkum with betel leaves, nuts and fruits. Sweets are distributed. On the ninth day Saraswati puja is held. Tenth day is celebrated with cultural programs. After every thing is over, the 'Marapachi' is put to sleep.
During Kollu, Vilakku Anaya is observed by old traditional women. 'Vilakku' stands for 'lamp' and 'Anaya' for 'remaining lighted'. The lamp which is lighted on the first day will be there as such for ten days. This observance is not very common today.