Durga Puja is an annually celebrated festival of Hindus, which pays homage and reveres to the Hindu Goddess, Durga. This grand festival is mainly popular in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Odisha, and Bihar. Durga Puja is also called Durgotsava, which is celebrated according to Bengali Calendar in the month of Ashwin.
Durga Puja is basically a five-day festival, this year begins on October 4 (Friday) and will continue till October 8. These auspicious five days are – Shasthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami, and Vijayadashami. It’s celebrations parallel runs with Navratri, a popular festival of Hindus, where nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped. For the celebration of Durgotsava, huge and theme-based pandals with idols of Goddess Durga are set-up and devotees gather in large numbers to offer prayers. During the festive season, devotees wear new clothes, indulge in traditional Bengali foods, sweets, and enjoy cultural programs. Durga Puja is a major festival of Bengalis, which is celebrated across India and the world.
Durga Puja Dates and Calendar:
Day 1: Shahshti on October 4
Day 2: Maha Saptami on October 5
Day 3: Maha Ashtami on October 6
Day 4: Maha Navami on October 7
Day 5: Vijayadashmi on October 8
Durga Puja rituals start off on Shashthi and come to an end on Dashami, when the idols of the god and goddess are immersed in lakes, ponds, and rivers by devotees with a broken heart.
According to tradition, it is believed that during this grand festival – Goddess Durga with her four children – Lakshmi, Ganesh, Kartik, and Saraswati, descends on Earth annually to visit her parents and to fight against evil powers. Goddess Durga has taken the life of Mahishasur. She arrives sitting on a lion mount and wields an array of weapons in her powerful ten hands, which symbolically represents ‘Shakti’ or woman power.