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From: Vasudha Narayanan (vasu_at_religion.ufl.edu)
Date: Fri Oct 04 1996 - 10:56:39 PDT
Esteemed members of this group: I have been wondering about the origins of the "Kolu" during navaratri. This seems unique to people from Tamilnadu, parts of Andhra and Karnataka, though in Andhra there is also a tradition of displaying dolls during the time of makara sankaranti for three days. Some elders in India told me that originally only the murtis of the Lord, Lakshmi and others were kept and somehow the secular dolls came in later. Does anyone know the origin of the "kolu" as we know it? Maybe there is information in personal recollections-- for instance there are stories of some porcelain dolls being given during my great grandmother's first navaratri after marriage-- so that pushes it back some years! More and more "social" themes seem to be represented in India-- in the fifties I vaguely recall seeing scened from Indian independance movement. Do you know of other secular themes that were so represented? Since this has been an important tradition in our family, I was curious about the history, and have been unable to get textual answers. I have a lot of information on the story of Mahishasuramardini, the puranas where they come, Yudhistira's veneration of Durga in the Mahabharata (Virata Parvan, I believe), but I'm simply searching for information just on our Tamil kolu. Any information is welcome! Thanking you, Vasudha Narayanan PS The reason I requested even personal recollections is because it gives so much pleasure just to hear about it. For instance, this summer, when the bhakti group was on "hold," I had asked Sri Sadagopan about patinettam perukku and he gave me such a lovely answer about how the ladies in his family would take "kalanda sadam" to Mother Kaveri "who was rushing to her Lord's house" and celebrate the day. Reading that note, I kept imagining the scene so many times, along with the memories I had of the celebrations of the day. Thank you.