Durga Puja Holiday is one of the biggest festivals of Bengal and is celebrated mainly in the regions of West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Assam, and Bihar. The festival commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Durgotsav unites people from all castes, creeds, and religions to celebrate togetherness through the blessings of Goddess Durga. Let’s know more about the Durga Puja 2023 celebrations!
|Durga Puja 2023 Date||October 20, 2023 – October 24, 2023|
|Day||Friday – Tuesday|
|Significance||It’s a harvest festival, which honors the Goddess Durga as the motherly force behind all life and creation. It symbolises the triumph of good over evil.|
|Also Known As||Akalbodhan, Sharadiya Puja, Sharodotsab, Maha Puja, Maayer Puja, Durga Puja, or just Puja.|
This year’s Durgostav begins on October 20 and ends on October 24. During this week, celebrations, prayers, and rituals are performed to honor Maa Durga every day.
|Puja Day||Day of the Week||Date|
|Maha Panchami||Thursday||19 October 2023|
|Maha Sasthi||Friday||20 October 2023|
|Maha Saptami||Saturday||21 October 2023|
|Maha Ashtami||Sunday||22 October 2023|
|Maha Nabami||Monday||23 October 2023|
|Bijaya Dashami||Tuesday||24 October 2023|
Here is how Durga Puja is celebrated in the country:
For the puja, all Government buildings, schools, and other institutions are closed. After Mahalaya, people go shopping for religious items. At this time of year, the majority of retailers offer discounts on apparel and other goods. On “Maha Ashtami,” men frequently wear Kurta Pajamas while women traditionally don sarees.
Different locations have cultural events, and puja organisers compete with one another by creating theme-based puja pandals. Every pandal has a narrative to tell via its artwork and furnishings, which is one of the charms of Durga Puja. People wait in line merely to enter the pandal so they may see the exquisite artwork and furnishings.
There are food stalls set up everywhere, and restaurants cook special Durga Puja delicacies. To create a festive atmosphere, various lights are used to adorn the streets. To regulate the traffic, more police officers are deployed than normal.
In addition to the festivities, the event necessitates a family gathering. During this period, people put aside their differences and united to celebrate togetherness. To be more specific, Durga Puja honours the human soul and crosses religious borders.
On the night of the Durga Puja celebration, a number of fun festive events and traditions are planned. Among them are:
On Sosthi, or the sixth day, the true Durga Puja gets underway. Lord Rama is thought to have started this autumnal devotion in order to ask the Goddess for assistance in destroying Ravana. Because of this, the goddess must be specifically called during the nightly Bodhon rite.
Everyone has the opportunity to show their respect by making a Pushpanjali, or Anjali. It is a flower offering made with cupped palms, while the priests carry out the ceremonies and rituals related to the worship of the Goddess. All three days—Saptami, Ashtami, and Navami—are used for Anjali. Anjali’s lucky hour is always in the morning.
The Kumari Puja is held on Ashtami (the eighth day of the month). A young teenage girl is chosen to be revered as Durga’s live embodiment. She takes the stage with the Goddess while wearing brand-new clothing and accessorised with flower decorations. The Belur Math, the administrative centre of the Ramakrishna Order established by Swami Vivekananda, is one of the most well-known locations to see the Kumari Puja.
One of the wild yet enjoyable rites that occur on Navami (the ninth day) evening is the Dhunuchi Naach. Charcoal is lit and placed into clay pots. People start dancing while holding it in their hands and responding to the dhaak’s (instrument) beat. The more skilled individuals balance the clay pots on their heads, occasionally even holding one by the teeth. Dhunuchi Naach, formerly a specialty of men, is now also done by women.
Sandhi Puja takes place at the time when Ashtami and Navami collide. A total of 138 lights are lit. The priest speaks a mantra, and a frantic rhythm is suddenly started by the drummers (dhaki). It used to be tradition to offer an animal sacrifice as well. However, it has mostly been abandoned, and vegetables are sacrificed as symbolism.
Hindu wives frequently apply sindoor or vermillion. On Dashami, people bid goodbye to the Goddess as the idol is taken outside for a river immersion. One of the rituals is Sindur Khela, wherein married women offer vermillion and treats to the Goddess. The vermillion is then applied to one another.
In preparation for Bisorjon, or immersion in the river, which symbolises the Goddess’ return to Mount Kailash, she is paraded through the streets with her children. Even now, some senior homes (bonedi bari) still carry idols on the shoulders of men as they place them on a bamboo platform. The majority, nevertheless, transport the idols up to the riverbed on a truck. The idols are then taken by boat to the centre of the river for immersion.
On the tenth day, the annual festival comes to an end. Men their own age utilise what is described as a “kolakuli,” or hugging move. There are special sweets distributed, especially Naru or roundels made with jaggery and coconut.
Goddess Durga is offered her favourite meals during the 10-day festival. Let’s look at the prasad generally offered on each day:
Devotees worship Maa Shailputri, Maa Durga’s incarnation, on the first day of Navratri. On the foot of the goddess Shailputri, they present pure desi ghee.
The followers worship Maa Brahmacharini on the second day. They offer the Goddess Brahmacharini a sugary bhog and ask for her blessings.
The third day of Navratri is dedicated to the devotion of Maa Chandraghanta. By giving this fierce version of Goddess Durga kheer as prasad, devotees ask for her blessings.
They present Malpua as bhog to the Goddess on the fourth day of Navratri, chant shlokas, and pray for success and joy in their life.
On the fifth day, the Goddess is offered Bananas, and the devotees pray for a healthy life.
The Goddess is offered honey on the sixth day.
This is a prasad offered to the Goddess on the seventh day. It is also offered as a Dakshina (offering) to Brahmins.
The Goddess is offered coconuts on the eighth day of the festival.
On the last day of the festival, the Goddess is offered Til or sesame seeds as an offering.
People decorate their houses in a grand manner to welcome Goddess Durga into their homes. Here is how you can indulge in Durga Puja 2023 decoration:
During festivals like Diwali and Durga Puja, people decorate their houses with a beautiful art form, rangoli, which is generally made with powdered colours on the floor. During Puja, white powder is prominently used.
It is customary in India to burn lamps and diyas at festivals as a representation of our path toward enlightenment. Lighting candles and lamps signifies the absence of bad powers and darkness. This is a kind of devotion, and Durga Puja, one of India’s most important festivals, is observed over a nine-day period.
Decorating houses with flowers is considered one of the most popular ways of decorating houses. Flowers like marigolds are predominantly used in decoration.
The entire city is generally lit with beautiful colourful lights. Houses are decorated with yellow fairy lights, which make the decorations look even better.
Durga Puja is celebrated in different parts of the country like:
Grand pandals with various themes are erected all throughout West Bengal. The idol is submerged in the sacred Ganges river on the festival’s last day. People celebrate this festival with great fervour in this state.
Since villagers in both areas arrange to feed young girls on the final day of the holiday, the Durga Puja rituals in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are extremely similar. In temples, the verse “Durga Saptashati” is also chanted.
The Durga Puja festival is observed as Navratri in Gujarat, and residents participate in nighttime celebrations by dancing the well-known “garba” dance.
According to tradition, married women in Andhra Pradesh worship Goddess Gauri on the night of the festival, while single women pray for the partner of their choosing. Bathukamma Panduga is the name of the Durga puja celebrated in Andhra Pradesh. The ladies construct flower stacks for prayer, which are eventually submerged in the river.
During the festival, Tamil Nadu locals worship the goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Durga. Young local girls perform a custom unique to the state of Tamil Nadu by presenting wooden dolls. The ceremony is called Golu.
The Goddess of power, known as Durga, defeated all forms of evil with her unwavering will. This success makes us think of the significant Ramayana triumph. The Durga Puja, also known as “Basanti Puja,” was traditionally observed in July. Lord Rama established the festival known as “Akal Bodhan,” which lasts the entire month of October. Since Rama was endowed with immortality, it was initially difficult for him to defeat Ravana in the Ramayana. He made the decision to worship the Goddess Durga since she overcame an impossibility. Every year, the untimely devotion of Goddess Durga and the triumph of Rama bring joy to all devotees.
Durga Puja is the result of several overlapping narratives. Stories from mythology have evolved through time and in response to social trends. The same thing took place at this festival as well.
According to legend, Uma, also known as Parvati, is the princess of king Daksha. This lovely daughter married Shiva or Rudra, the god of devastation, in a religious ceremony. By eliminating Mahisasura, she became the protector of Devkul and Patal.
According to another legend, Mahisashura was blessed by the god Brahma. With this favour, he gained invincibility. He became unbeatable by any human or animal on earth. Lord Brahma came up with a remedy when all the Gods appealed to him for assistance because they were all powerless. All the Gods created Goddess Durga because the benediction did not specify “woman.” A woman with great strength and tenacity overcame evil with her goodness and purity.
One of the most important holidays observed by the people of this nation is Durga Puja. It is celebrated with tremendous fervour and passion everywhere you go, from Tamil Nadu in the south to Himachal in the north. Bengali Durga Puja is more than just a holiday; it encompasses all of the national sentiments.
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In a number of Indian states, Maha Navami is observed as a public holiday. States may have different dates. In 2023, the date falls on October 24.
In the Indian states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh (eastern sections), Assam, and Odisha, Durga Puja is a highly observed event. Five days are devoted to its celebration.
According to historical records, Goddess Durga was originally worshipped around the 1500s. Folklore holds that Bengal’s first Durga Puja was started by landowners Dinajpur and Malda. The first Durga Puja in Bengal was conducted in 1606 by Raja Kangshanarayan from Taherpur or Bhabananda Mazumdar of Nadiya.
The best celebrations of the festival are the Kolkata Durga puja.
The reason why devotees worship Durga is to get good energy and to purify their minds in order to achieve purity and salvation.
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