Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Hurray!!!! It's finally the time of the year, all bengalis can't wait for. It's our Durga Puja, the most important festival of bengalis, the worship of Maa Durga, the divine power. It is worshipped in the Autumn(in bengali "sharat") season. When you see the golden sunshine, fluffy white clouds allover the blue sky and the mild fragnance of 'Shiuli phool' , then you know that autumn has arrived. Every bengali, no matter which part of the world a bengali might be in, awaits for this time of the year, to be with their families and can't wait for long 'adda'(chat) sessions with families and friends.
The rituals of Durga Puja
Once a year, in the autumnal month of ASHWIN, she comes on earth, together with her four children, Ganesh, Laxmi, Karttik and Saraswati, and enjoys all the love and attention lavished on her. Seven days before Her arrival starts the Devipaksha. The day is known as ‘Mahalaya’. On the dawn of ‘Mahalaya’, every homes in Bengal listen to the enchanting voice of Late Birendra Krishna Bhadra, who recite hymns from the scriptures of Devi Chandi(Chandipath). Thousands offer prayers to their ancestors at the city's river (Ganga) banks, a ritual called 'Tarpan'. The inauguration of the Goddess idol('Devi Bodhon) starts on Mahashasthi. Unveiling the face of the idol is the main ritual on this day.The main puja is for three days - Mahasaptami, Mahaastami, Mahanavami. Mahasaptami is the first day of Durga puja. The second and most important day is Mahaastami. Kumari puja, the worship of little girls as the mother goddess is a special part of mahaastami puja. Another important ritual is Sandhi Puja, that means the end of Mahaastami and the beginning of Maha Navami. The main Mahanavami puja begins after the end of Sandhi Puja. All three days, devotees come to the puja pandals (the place where goddess is worshipped, a special kind of tent with lots of decorations and lightings) to offer Anjali to the goddess and take her blessings. Dashami, the last day of the puja, when she starts on her journey back to her husband's place in the mountain of Kailash. With a heavy heart bengalis immerse the clay idol of goddess in the sacred Ganges saying her goodbye and start counting days for the next year when 'Maa' will come again to us.
"Sindur Khela" is a major part of Dashami puja. Married women first apply vermillion to goddess before she is immersed and take her blessings and then they apply to each other.
'Kolakuli'(embracing each other).
(click on the picture to see the animation of kolkakuli)
Unfortunately, this visit lasts for only four days but in these four days, bengalis enjoy fully. Afterall, it's a celebration of family reunion, celebration of good food and celebration of lots of happiness...... HAPPY PUJA GREETINGS to all the bangalis allover the world...I wish Maa bless you all and answer all your prayers.........