The nine days and nights festival immediately preceding the most important festival Dasara is celebrated all over India with different traditions. The very first day of this 10 day festival, idols of Goddess Durga are installed at many homes. This installation of the Goddess is popularly known as Ghatsthapana. Then we have the Dandiya celebrations at many places and people flock the temples of Goddesses where in each day a new Avtaar is decorated for the devi.
During this period, little girls celebrate ‘Bhondla/Hadga’ as the Sun moves to the thirteenth constellation of the zodiac called “Hasta” (Elephant). During the nine days, Bhondla is celebrated in the garden or on the terrace during evening hours by inviting female friends of the daughter in the house. An elephant is drawn either with Rangoli on the soil or with a chalk on a slate and kept in the middle. The girls go around it in a circle, holding each other’s hands and singing the Bhondla songs. All the Bhondla songs are traditional songs passed down the generations. The last song typically ends with the words ‘…khirapatila kaay ga?’ (meaning ‘What is the special dish today?’). This ‘Khirapat’ is a special dish / dishes often made laboriously by the mother of the host girl. The food is served only after the rest of the girls have guessed the dish/dishes correctly.
With the commencement of garba and dandiya the nights are back to life and youngsters together celebrate the occasion with folk tunes and traditional dresses. The most focused dances in the city are at Millinieum Garden, Mahaveer Bhavan, Gomatesh Vidyapeeth and Gujarat Bhavan.
Infact now many societies and streets have started to organise their own Dandiya and this time getting permission for the same from police has been made strict and certain conditions have been imposed after seeing last years events of outsiders entering the dancing areas, eve teasing etc.
These 9 days also sees the Durga Mata Daud in the early hours of the morning and this is becoming very popular with the youth.
The entire set of events will culminate on Dasara day which again has some Belgaum specific events like the Durga Devi Procession in Camp and the Semolanghan program held at the Jyoti college grounds.