Durga Puja is a celebration in honor of the Goddess Durga. It is the celebration of the victory of the good over evil. Usually, it is held on Mahalaya which is the first phase of crescent moon of the Hindu calendar. On this day, the devotees get up early and give praise to the Goddess Durga. The local puja communities conduct competitions on folk dances, songs, shankh and jatra. These competitions are the major attractions of the festival. There is also a grand feast organized during the Durga Puja. Aside from these happenings, the devotees wear new clothes, dance and chant mantras. There are also an amazing display of lights and a rhythmic beat of drums during the grand celebration.
The Meaning of Durga Puja
The Durga Feast actually has its roots in ancient Hindu mythology. According to the myth, a fierce demon king named Mahishasura was terrorizing both heaven and earth. He was blessed with semi-immortality by Lord Brahma. He had defeated Lord Indra and won the throne. He declared himself king and thrown the gods out. Having experienced a reign of terror, the gods went to the trinity deities – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – and asked for their help. They prayed for their safety and the safety of the people. The invasion of the demon king enraged the Supreme Gods. In answer to the gods’ plea, they merged their powers together and created a young goddess who was empowered with eternal power.
The goddess has three eyes, ten hands with a celestial weapon in each and is mounted on a lion. She was named Durgathe, the Goddess of War, the invincible lord of power and the symbol of goodness. She brought hope to the people and the gods. She fulfilled their wish and killed Mahishasura. In Sanskrit, Durga means “unattainable”. She is also known as Mahishasura Mardini because she managed to kill Mahishasura and Maha Devi because she is treated as the mother of all mortal beings and divine powers.
With the greatness of what she did, she was renowned by all the Hindus not only in India but all over the world. She – a woman – is hailed for her heroic act.
Unfortunately, there are still people who happen to forget that their savior was a woman. They treat women in an unjustly manner. They do not often respect them as shown in the way they talk to them. Sometimes, they even belittle the things that they can do. They are seen as weaklings. And most of the time, they are being restricted to do things as if needing protection always. Women should not be taken as inferior to men. They have the strength to overcome problems and the power to win over evil things.
They can protect their children and their siblings, like a man would do. They also have the right to be respected at all times and not only when they become mothers. This Durga Puja is a wake up reminder to all, especially to the men, that women can be a hero also. Women are not always underdogs. They deserve to be treated well and respected equally with men.