Why Durga Puja is not only a Festival but a mixture of Tradition & Emotion to Bengali

Durga Puja or Durgotsav is a Hindu festival, honoring the victory of Goddess Durga against the demon Mahishasura. The celebration symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Over the years Durga Puja remains the most colorful, grand, and glamorous festival celebrated throughout India mostly the hive is in West Bengal in the month of September or October. It’s a multi-day celebration stretching from 6 to 10 days and starts from ‘Prothoma’, ‘Dwitiya’, ’Tritiya’, ’Chaturthi’, ’Panchami’, ’Shashti’, ’Saptami’, ’Ashtami/Durga Ashtami’, ’Navami’, and the last day when Durga Visarjan is observed ‘Dashami’.

Mythological History behind Durga Puja

As per Hindu mythology, Mahishasura, the son of King Rama, who is blessed by Lord Brahma that “He cannot be killed by any man, god animal”, he went on to rule the three worlds (tri-Loka), Heaven (Swarga Loka), The Earth (Morto Loka), Hell (Patal-Loka). At such a difficult all the God and Goddess combine their power to Summon Goddess Durga to suppress the demon equipped with 10 divine weapons received from different Gods and blessed by all Gods. Lord Shiva gave her his Trishul, Lord Varuna gave his Conch, Lord Vishnu gave his Chakra, Lord Brahma gave his Lotus, Lord Yama gave his Kharga, Lord Vayu and Surya gave her Bow & Arrow, Lord Kubera gave his Mace, Lord Indra gave his Thunderbolt, Lord Vishwakarma gave his Axe and Lord Himalaya gave her his Lion.

It was said that Goddess Durga fought for 10 long days which shook the heaven and earth and finally slain Mahishasura and established victory of light over darkness.

The fragrance of ‘Shiuliful’ and the beauty of  ‘Kansful’ in the month of Autumn gave all Bengali’s a ‘Pujo-Pujo’ vibe and all set for a grand celebration full of fun, enjoyment, food, prayer, and merriment. The enjoyment of Puja starts a month before when shopping for new clothes and the making of Pandals and Durga idols starts.

“Durga Puja is not only a festival but a mixture of tradition & emotion”

Durga Puja celebration is a Carnivals for Bengalis all over India and nothing can be compared to the Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata. Durga Puja is a social as well as domestic festival that takes place in a variety of traditional ways like:

Theme based pandals

● Domestic Puja (named as Bonedi Puja)

● Sarvajanin Puja (Barwari Puja of Communities in the neighborhood)

It’s been seen that the concept of Durga Puja has become a flexible creative and color-based festival nowadays. From simplified domestic Puja to theme-based community celebrations, Durga Puja continues to light up its glory worldwide. Durga Puja is a festival of joy and happiness that surpasses all the barriers, bringing together all the communities, whether rich or poor to enjoy the royalty and togetherness of this festival in one way or the other. Durga Puja makes a bond between the different Bengali communities to enjoy this celebration together and forgot all the problems in their lives and just enjoy every moment of the Puja vibe in those 4 days. From household to complexes, from slums to higher society, all the different types of Bengali communities, everyone is ready to welcome Maa Durga in their own way. And ready to dive into the happiness and colors Puja and make memorable moments in those four days.

Durga Puja is all about happiness, social gathering, shopping for traditional clothes, gifts, ornaments, distributing sweets, and spreading love as well as best wishes among all. It is a time for the Bengalis to get united to relish the grand beauty and unleash the color of this festival, cultural functions, drama, the dance of girls in lal-patt-Sharee, wonderful and creative lighting, fair in different pandals, theme-based pandal decoration, late-night hangout with friends and family members.

Streets are decorated with colorful lights with a variety of street stalls that are set up to serve delicious foods. Streets are packed with thousands of people coming from different corners of India to witness the beauty of pandals, worship Maa Durga, eat and enjoy. It is said that around 50,000 pandals are structured in the streets of Kolkata and all are creative with their imaginary or real implementation of themes. Colorful decorative lights and glittering streets turn the city into a fairy town of happiness. A huge number of people come out to visit different pandals with unique designs and themes with colorful decorations. This custom is called Pandal Hopping.

Significance of all festive days during Durga Puja

Significance of all festive days during Durga Puja

Mahalaya marks the beginning of ‘Devi Paksha’. It is the day when Goddess Durga descends on earth. Bengali household starts the day with lighting firecrackers throughout the night before the day starts and family member starts the day with Virendra Krishna Bhadra’s immortal voice reciting the hymns of ‘Mahishasura Mardini’. Also, Bengali watch a drama or a short film of how Maa Durga defeated Mahishasura while the younger generation engaged in lighting the firecrackers in the streets. On the occasion of Mahalaya (Usually a week before the actual Puja starts), the eyes of Maa Durga are drawn on the statues or idol and this holy ritual is called ‘Chokkhu Daan’. Also, on this auspicious day, people performed ‘Tarpan’ a ritual to pay homage to their ancestors. Now after 10 days from Mahalaya the actual Five Festive Days starts which are:

Maha Shashti:

On this day, Maa Durga’s face is disclosed in pandals following some rituals such as Amontron, Bodhon, and Adhibash.

Maha Saptami:

On this day the Puja begins and a ritual called ‘Pran Prastisthan’ takes place in which a banana tree, immersed in holy water, dressed in a sari, is used to invoke the presence of the Goddess which is called ‘Kola Bou’ or banana bride which symbolize as the wife of Lord Ganesha. She is placed on Lord Ganesha’s right side, along with other deities worshipped during Durga Puja.

Maha Ashtami:

On Maha Ashtami, Goddess Durga is worshipped in the form of a little girl whose age is 9 years or less. This ritual is called ‘Kumari Puja’. On this day people offer prayers through ‘Anjali’, (Hymns and Mantra in the Sanskrit language). In the evening ‘Sandhi Puja’ is performed which is the “sandhi khan” of Maha Ashtami and Maha Nabami. After the Sandhya Arati, traditional Dhunuchi Dance is performed with the rhythmic beating of ‘Dhak’. Also, many other different rituals are performed like ‘Ashtami khan’ where a girl spiritually bond with Maa Durga and break a huge ball of Sweet or a big fruit through her feet to demonstrate Maa Durga in Every Women.

Maha Nabami:

Maha Nabami marks the ending of Durga Puja performing ‘Maha Arati’. Many fun-based competitions, games, and activities are arranged by the Puja Committees and ‘Bhog’ is served to all people.

Bijaya Dashami:

On the last day, the ritual is called ‘Devi Baran’ Takes place where married women bid farewell to the Goddess by smearing ‘Sindur’ on Goddess’s forehead. ‘Sindur Khela’ symbolizes the power of womanhood in protecting loved ones from all evil. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Durga gained victory over the Demon and thus restored the balance on the earth and ‘Tri-Loka’.

After the holy ritual of Devi Baran (‘Devi Visarjan’), a grand procession filled with the rustic rhythm of Dhak, Smoke of Dhunas, Dance, the lighting of firecrackers and music take place and with teary eyes of every Bengalis, devotees bid adieu to the divine mother by submerging her idol into scared water. This ritual is known as ‘Visarjan’. It’s said that when Maa Durga is Submerge underwater she returns home to ‘Kailash Paarvat’ with other deities. Hundreds of Bengalis join hands Saying “Asche Bachor Abar Hobe” depicting the return of Maa Durga after one long year to fill up the lives with Positivity, happiness, prosperity, and festivity.

Durga Puja or Durgotsav, as a whole, is a festival of positivity, happiness, emotion, love, and bonding for all Bengalis to become one together. Durga Puja is an emotional touch to all Bengalis hearts and the greatest and richest festival celebrated by them. Each and every Bengali people or family lives in India cherish it with love emotion and prayer and devote their heart to Maa Durga to be blessed and protected from Evil.