Durga Pooja

Durga Pooja is a Hindu festival celebrating the mother goddess and the victory of the heroic goddess Durga over the demon Mahisasura. The festival represents the power of women as ‘Shakti’ in Space. It’s a Good over Evil Festival. Durga Pooja is one of India’s biggest festivals. In addition to being a Hindu festival, it is also a time of family and friends reunion, as well as a cultural festival.

The Importance of Durga Pooja
While the festivals bring a celebration of fasting and devotion for ten days, the last four days of the festival namely Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Vijaya-Dashami are celebrated with brilliance and splendor in India, especially in Bengal and overseas.

Durga Pooja festivals vary in location, culture, and beliefs. Things vary so much that in some places the festival lasts for five days, in some places for seven days and in some places for ten full days. The reunion begins with ‘Shashti’ – the sixth day and ends with ‘VijayaDashmi’ – the tenth day.

The goddess Durga was the daughter of Himalayas and Menka. She later became Sati to marry King Shiva. It is believed that the Durga pooja festival dates back to when King Rama worshiped the goddess to gain power over her to kill Ravana.

In some communities, especially in Bangal, the festival is celebrated by decorating the ‘pandand’ in the surrounding regions. On the last day, they go again to immerse the goddess in the sacred river Ganges.

Some believe that another story after the festival was that on this day the goddess Durga defeated the demon Mahisasura. He was called by the Lord of the trinity – Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu to destroy the demon and save the world at his feet. The battle continued for ten days and finally, on the tenth day, Goddess Durga cast out the demon. We celebrate the tenth day like Dussehra or Vijayadashami.

Traditions Performed During the Durga Pooja Time
The festivities date back to the time of the Mahalaya, when devotees asked Goddess Durga to come to earth. On this day, they made eye contact with the statue of the goddess during a beautiful ceremony called Chokkhu Daan. After erecting a statue of the goddess Durga in their place, they performed rituals to enhance her blessed presence in the images at Saptami.

These traditions are called ‘Pran Pratisthan’. It consists of a small banana plant known as Kola Bou (banana bride), which is taken to bathe in a nearby river or lake, wrapped in a sari, and used as a means of carrying the divine power of God.

During the festival, devotees offer prayers to God and worship him in a variety of ways. After the evening ritual of aarti is performed on the eighth day it is a ritual of traditional religious dance performed before the Goddess to please her. The dance is performed to the accompaniment of musical drums while holding a clay pot filled with a cover of a burning coconut and camphor.

On the ninth day, the worship is completed with Maha Aarti. It is a symbol of the end of great rituals and prayers. On the last day of the festival, the goddess Durga returns to her husband’s residence and the orders of the goddess Durga are taken for immersion in the river. Married women donated vermillion red powder to Goddess and tagged themselves with the powder.

The Conclusion
Everyone celebrates and enjoys the festival regardless of their age and financial status. Durga Pooja is a major public and theater festival. Dancing and performing rituals are an important part of it. Delicious traditional food is also a big part of the festival. Kolkata Street flourishes with stalls and shops, where locals and foreigners enjoy a mouth-watering meal, including sweets. To celebrate Durga Pooja, all workplaces, educational institutions, and business premises remain closed in West Bengal. Many non-Bengali cultural centers organize Durga Pooja in many parts of the UK, USA, Australia, France and other countries. Therefore, the festival teaches us that good always overcomes evil and therefore we should always follow the right path.