Durga Puja – The success of the honored warrior Goddess Durga over the demon king with buffalo head Mahishasura is remembered by the Hindus all over the world. The celebration of her victory is called Durga Puja. It is celebrated in late September or early October every year. It is usually in the last five days of Navratri. The dates of the festival are determined with the help of the lunar calendar. This year 2012, the Durga Puja fest will run from October 20 to October 24.
In West Bengal, especially in the city of Kolkata, Durga Puja is the biggest and the most important event they commemorate there. The Bengali communities in other parts of India also have the privilege to remember the heroic act of Goddess Durga. A remarkable celebration of the festivity also takes place both in Mumbai and Delhi. It is also precise to say that Durga Puja has gained its popularity in Orissa and North East India, particularly in Assam and Tipura.
What happens during the Durga Puja? How is it being executed?
Durga Puja has the same way of celebration as the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. At the start of the feast, big and beautifully crafted statues of Goddess Durga are set up in the homes of the people. Podiums that are well-decorated are placed all over the city. After the effigies are being installed, Pran Pratisthan is performed. This is a ritual done to summon the presence of Goddess Durga. A Kola Bou, or a small banana plant, is bathed in a nearby river and dressed in a sari. This is used to transport the energy of the goddess.
On the third day, Kumari Puja is executed. This is the ritual where a young girl is being worshipped for the belief that she embodies the goddess. The worship ends on the fourth day with a great fire ceremony or known as Maha Aarti. Prayers are offered to the goddess every day during the festivity. On the last day, the statues are taken and being paraded on the streets around the city. A lot of music and dancing add color to the event. The statues are then immersed in the water.
The Durga Puja is a highly socialized event. It involves a lot of dancing. It is also theatrical. Drama and cultural performances are widely held. Street stalls blossom with many foods that the people enjoy. At night, the streets of Kolkata fill with people who eat and celebrate while admiring the images of Goddess Durga at the same time.