Durga Pooja, It is one of the greatest festivals of India. It is dedicated to Goddess Mother and the victory over the demon Mahisasura. This festival represents female power as known as ‘Shakti’ in the Universe. In addition, it is also time for a get together of family and friends and a ceremony of cultural values and customs.
The significance of Durga Pooja
The ceremonies bring observance of fast and devotion for ten days. Everyone celebrates the last four days of the festival namely Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and finally Vijaya-Dashami with much sparkle and happiness especially in Bengal. However, it depends on the place, culture and tradition because somewhere the festival is for five days, for seven and somewhere it is for complete ten days. Mainly the festival begins with ‘Shashti’ sixth day and ends on the last day.
Fact about this festival
According to the mythology, Goddess Durga was the daughter of Himalaya and Menka. Who later became Sati to get married to Lord Shiva. People believe that the festival started since the time Lord Rama worshipped to get a grant of powers from her to kill Ravana(demon). Some communities, especially in Bengal they decorate (tents) in the whole region. However, some people even worship the goddess at home. On the last day, everyone go for leaving the statue of the goddess into the holy river the Ganges.
We celebrate this festival to honour the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. Some people also believe that on this day the goddess defeated the demon Mahisasura. She was called upon by all three Lords –Brahma Vishnu and Shiva and to eradicate the demon and save the world from his cruelty. This battle went on for ten days and finally, Goddess eliminated the demon on tenth day. Since then we started celebrating Dussehra.
Rituals about this festival
This amazing festival begins from the time of Mahalaya, where the devotees request Goddess Durga to come to the earth. On this day, people make the eyes on the Goddess statue during an auspicious ceremony call Chokkhu Daan. After creating the idol of Goddess Durga, they perform rituals to raise her blessing presence into the idols on Saptami. This ritual is known as ‘Pran Pratisthan’. It has a small banana plant known as Kola Bou (female banana), which is bring for a bath in a nearby river and uses as a way for carrying the Goddess’s holy energy.
During the festival, the devotees pray to the Goddess. After the evening ceremony ritual on the eighth day it is a tradition to perform religious folk dance in front of the Goddess statue in order to gratify her. On the ninth day, the worship finishes with a big pray ceremony. It is the symbol of the ending of the rituals and prayers of the festival. On the last day of the festival, Goddess goes back to her husband’s house and everyone takes goddess statutes for immersion in the river. On this occasion women offer red powder to the Goddess and also mark themselves with this powder.
Moral of the Festival
Durga Pooja is an enormously communal and theatrical celebration. Dance and cultural performances are an essential part of it. Amazing and delicious traditional food is also an enormous part of this festival. The street of Kolkata flourishes with different food stalls and shops, where several locals and foreigners enjoy the mouth-watering foodstuff including real Bengal sweets.
On this occasion, all educational institutions, workplaces and businesses remain closed in West Bengal. Besides Kolkata, This festival is also celebrated in other places of India like Patna, Guwahati, Mumbai etc. Many non-residential Bengali cultural establishments arrange in several places in the Australia, France, UK, USA, and other countries. Thus, this festival teaches us that good always wins over the evil. So we should always follow the right path.