Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 13:25 UK

Hundreds to join Hindu festival

A Navratri celebration
People come together to dance during the celebration

Up to 400 men, women and children are to celebrate a major Hindu festival in Berkshire this weekend.

The Navratri celebration, in Reading, will see hundreds of people dressed in traditional costumes take part in folk and stick dancing.

The tradition is for everyone to dance quickly in a circle in a trance-like state.

Navratri means "nine nights" and is one of the most celebrated festivals in the Hindu calendar.

'Whirling uninhibited'

The festival's legends are all related to Goddess Shakti, the Hindu mother goddess.

The event, at the Academy Sport and Leisure Centre, is organised by voluntary group Gujarat Samaj and will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

The group caters for the needs of the Gujarati people, who were originally from western India and later from Uganda and East Africa.

"It is a time for even the most traditional and housebound women to be out of the house and whirling, uninhibited, towards the divinity that hides within her own body," said a spokesperson for the Reading Council for Racial Equality, to which the group is affiliated.

"Many of the songs begin slow and gradually speed up, sending the dancers into a trance, especially when the music and dance is in its rawest form."

Print Sponsor

'Pretty Woman' in temple upset
23 Sep 09 |  South Asia
In pictures: Navratri festival
22 Sep 09 |  Religion and Ethics


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific