Can you imagine being on this earth for 90 glorious years? Yes, that’s right! A 90th birthday is no mean feat, and it certainly deserves a celebration worth remembering.
It is a momentous milestone that marks a lifetime of experiences, memories, and wisdom. The Hindu custom honours this incredible milestone, or the “Navathi age”, with an exclusive ritual known as Kanagabishegam. This momentous occasion signifies the transition from the worldly to the spiritual world.
Not everyone is lucky enough to celebrate their Kanagabishegam, which is why this sacred event is extra special. This blog takes you on a trip down our culture lane and explores the significance of the Navathi age and how we honour ninety years with joy and enthusiasm.
Why We Celebrate Kanagabishegam or the Navathi Age
The word Nava denotes nine, and Navathi itself indicates the completion of nine decades. Navathi is not an ordinary birthday celebration. It is a heartfelt tribute to a life well-lived, showcasing the person’s unmatched experience of navigating life’s obstacles, challenges, and joyous moments witnessed over nine decades.
If living for ninety years is an achievement, spending a significant part of that life with one’s spouse is an even more extraordinary feat. The Navathi celebration honours the enduring love and commitment of the long-married couple. If both partners are alive, they reaffirm their devotion and love for each other by renewing their vows and long-lasting relationship.
This renewal of marital vows is a vital element of the Kanagabishegam and holds great importance in the hearts of everyone witnessing this once-in-a-lifetime occasion. The younger generation draws inspiration from the elderly couple as they celebrate enduring love and commitment.
Most elderly couples of this age group are great-grandparents, which itself is a remarkable milestone. In Hindu tradition, it is believed that becoming grandparents marks the pinnacle of one’s life and enables the transcendation to the golden spectrum of heaven.
Hence, the great-grandson of the fourth generation gains the privilege of performing the Kanagbishegam for the first-generation great-grandparents. The celebration brings together family, friends, and well-wishers who gather to seek blessings from the elderly couple and celebrate the gift of life and love.
The Purpose of Kanagabishegam: What it Symbolises?
The Kanagabishegam is more than a 90th birthday party. The elderly couple pray to their favourite deities to forgive their sins, relieve them of their evil karmas, and bless them with more years of happiness and good health. It is also believed that this celebration increases the “mangalya bhakyam” for the women (the blessing of long life for their respective husbands).
The celebration is also an opportunity to meet their loved ones and reminisce about their life journey. In short, the Navathi age celebration is a medicine-free remedy that invigorates their mind and body.
What Happens During the Navathi Age Celebration?
Preparations for a Kanagabishegam commence weeks or months before the auspicious date. The entire family unifies in planning and organising every aspect of the celebration. The pomp and splendour are doubled if the elderly couple is renewing their vows with a second wedding, which is performed by their children. Invitations are sent out, and large wedding halls or convention centres are booked to accommodate the gathering crowd.
Mangala Snanam or Holy Bath
The Navathi age celebrations are steeped in culture and reflect our rich heritage and deep-rooted spiritual values. Celebrations on the auspicious day commence with a “mangala snanam”, or divine bath to rejuvenate the body and spirit.
It is a meticulous ritual where the couple is anointed in pure ghee, milk, fruits, and radiant gold to exude an aura of divine spirituality. The ambience evokes a sense of reverence and divine energy.
Sacred Rituals or Homams
As the day unfolds, the air resonates with melodious chanting of prayers and Vedic mantras to invoke the blessings of the celestial forces for the elderly couple. The sacred rituals also invoke the divine energies within oneself.
An array of fire rituals or Homams are performed by priests to seek the well-being of the celebrants and their family members. The rituals include:
- Ayush Homam
- Maha Mruthyunjaya
- Navagraha Homam
Later in the day, the couple visits the temple, seeking God’s blessings. The family may arrange for Annadhanam or food distribution or indulge in philanthropic activities to support the needy. Such acts of kindness and generosity are vital elements of Navathi celebrations. They highlight the significance of “giving back to society” and promote harmonious communal well-being.
Other Auspicious Rituals
Many more rituals and customary procedures happen in the wedding hall or convention centre, which is the venue for the Navthi celebrations.
The Prathima and Mrityunjayadevata Kalasa Sthapanam are important elements of the celebration. The Kalasa Sthapanam is known to vary in its practice depending on the location where it is performed. One notable difference is the number of kalashas used, which can range from as many as 60 to as few as 12 or 33. This ritual is followed by Shodasa Upacharam and other poojas to pray to our deities.
One such ritual is the Paratpara Pooja, invoking Lord Vishnu’s and Durga Devi’s blessings. Prayers and poojas are also offered to other deities like:
- The Gods of the sixty years or Samvathsara devas
- The Gods of the stars or Nakshathra devas
- The Gods of the phases of the moon or Thithi Devas
- The Gods for the eight cardinal directions or Dikpalakas
Priests chant Vedic mantras like Purusha and Nakshatra Sooktha, Dik Sooktha, and Varuna Sooktha to invoke these deities in Kumbhams or Mandalams. The Dosha Shanthi ritual is performed as a conclusion to all these rituals.
Some families take the elderly couple on a ceremonial procession through their village or town. The procession is yet another opulent display of tradition and culture. The couple is paraded on an eloquently decorated elephant or horse-drawn chariot. Priests chant the Vedic mantras as the entire community seeks the couple’s blessing. The ceremonial procession also symbolises their revered status in the community.
The Kanagabishegam is an exclusive element of Navathi celebrations. The term literally translates to “Golden shower” and involves the ritual of close family members reverently showering the celebrants with shimmering gold coins. The joyous atmosphere is palpable as loved ones come together to honour their elders in this memorable and meaningful way.
In essence, the Navathi celebration is an intricate tapestry of family bonds, culture, tradition, spirituality, and, above all, the gift of life. Every aspect of the celebration epitomises the tenacity of love and the endurance of a well-lived life.
Such a celebration deserves one of the best kalyana mandapams in Chennai, like the Chennai Convention Centre. Our venue has everything you need to execute Navathi celebrations in the grandest and most convenient manner. Visit our venue and talk to our team to get your plans underway. Contact us today!