Kolabou or Nabo Patrika is an important ritual performed during the Navratri Durga puja in Bengal. It represents the nine forms of the Goddess Durga who is worshipped symbolically through nine varieties of plants.
This was actually a ritual performed by the farmers for prosperous harvest, But later on with the increasing popularity of Durga Puja, it got included in the rituals of Durga Puja.
The nine plants comprising Nabopatrika are:
- Banana plant represents Goddess Brahmani
- Colacassia plant represents Goddess kalika
- Turmeric plant represents Goddess Durga
- Jayanti tree represents Goddess Koumaree
- Billo represents Goddess Shiva
- Ashoka tree represents Devi Shokrohita
- Dariim represents Devi Raktodontika
- Maan Kochu represents Devi Chamunda
- Dhanno represents Devi Lakshmi
This ritual is performed on the day of Maha Saptami. The nine different saplings are bound with the creeper of Shet Aparajita , red string and alta ( a red coloured liquid used to decorate feet). Finally it is covered with a red bordered white saree and placed on the same platform where the idol of Devi Durga is worshipped. In 2014, Kolabou & Nabapatrika date is October 1.
This was earlier practiced by the farmer community to get good harvest. In those times, idol worship was not so popular and mother nature was worshipped as the supreme form of Goddess. But nowadays, this is also practiced in the urban regions with great enthusiasm among the devotees of Goddess Durga.