In Tamil culture, nine nights of Navratri are dedicated to Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. In Tamil Nadu, the festival of Navarathri is famous for the Kolu doll arrangements. Women arrange Kolu dolls in homes on decorated steps made from wood. Navarathri 2012 begins on October 16 and ends on October 24. Navaratri is observed in the Tamil month Puratassi.
Special Navratri pujas and rituals are performed for Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. The first three days are dedicated to Durga, the next three to Lakshmi and the final three days to Goddess Saraswati.
Saraswathi Puja on the last three days is of great importance to many Hindu communities.
A kalash symbolizing the Goddesses is prepared and worshipped during the Navratri period.
People avoid non-vegetarian food during the period and some people also perform Navratri fasting on certain days. A partial fast is also observed during the period.
But for most Tamil women, Navratri is dedicated to Kolu doll arrangements. The kollu dolls which are collected over a period of years and some which are traditionally passed from one generation to another forms part of the Kollu dolls.
Kolu dolls are believed to be the army or court of Goddess Durga before slaying demon Mahishasura. But today Navarathri Kolu is more famous for arrangement of dolls by themes.
Ayudha Puja is performed on the ninth day of Navratri.