India - Durga Puja Festival of India

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Durga Puja Festival of India

Durga Puja is the most important festival of West Bengal, Orissa, Tripura and other parts of north east India. Durga Puja is celebrated from the sixth to tenth day of the waxing moon, in the month of Ashwin, corresponding to the months of September- October. In many parts of India this period is celebrated as Navratri. In few other regions of India Ram Navami is celebrated during this period.

As the 'Mother of the Universe', Goddess Durga represents the infinite power of the universe and is a symbol of female dynamism. Durga Puja is observed in her honor, to rejoice her victory over the evil.

The puja is held over a five-day period, which is traditionally viewed as the coming of the married daughter Durga, to her father’s house. Being the most important festival in Bengal, Bengalis celebrate it with new clothes and gifts. Every family, whether affluent or not, makes it a point to buy gifts for all their friends and relatives. There is a state holiday during this period and everyone is bent on having a good time.

In the evenings the families dress up in their best clothes and go out to see the pandals (temporary structures set up to venerate the goddess). The young spend the night hopping from one pandal to another. Pandals are set up in almost every nook and corner of the state, and the streets are all brightly lit up. There is incessant beating of the traditional drums through out the day and night. These pandals may be built on any particular theme, and a lot of creativity and art is applied while building them. There are competitions held and prizes are given out to the outstanding ones.

Though this festival is more pompously celebrated in West Bengal, Bihar, and the neighboring states, it is celebrated throughout the nation. Durga Puja is a festival that is enjoyed by people from all communities. The atmosphere is charged with happiness and gaiety. You shouldn’t be surprised to see tears streaming down the faces when the idols are immersed on the final day, symbolizing the goddess’s return to her husband’s house! It is a very emotional goodbye to the daughter of the house!


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