People adorned in traditional attires were spotted in long queues in almost every pandals (marquees) in the 'City of Joy', waiting for their turn to offer the special prayer.
Mahaashtami is traditionally known as the day of sacrifices. It was on this date that buffaloes were sacrificed in several families to mark the victory of goddess Durga over the Mahisasur (Buffalo-demon).
However, with the change in situation and time, the entire ritual of animal sacrifice has now become obsolete. These days, vegetables are sacrificed in place of animals and the entire ritual is known as 'balidan'.
The second significant ritual of the day is 'kumari puja' where a young girl is worshipped as 'Kumari'.
This year in the afternoon of Ashtami, Sandhi pua will be performed.
Traditionally on the day of Mahaashtami, Bengalis prefer to eat vegetarian dishes.
Meanwhile, the streets of Kolkata on the Mahasaptami night were bubbling with huge crowd as they queued up to catch up with the best pandals (marquees) of the city.
From popular restaurants, to small-time food stalls, the queue of pandal hoppers waiting for their refreshment remained unaltered from south to north Kolkata.
--IBNS (Posted on 12-10-2013)