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Durga Puja – The Time To Soak In The Power And Glory Of The Formidable Mother Is Here!

GaneshaSpeaks

With the cool winds of the autumn and the lush green sugar canes coming straight out of the fields, you can be sure that the long wait is over! That time of the year is here, when we can revel in the spirit of the jubilant Durga Puja! This grand Hindu festival, which is celebrated prominently by Bengalis across the world, is a 4-day long extravaganza, which is celebrated in honour of the powerful mother Goddess. In this article, we bring to you a lowdown of the process of celebration and the specialties of each of these 4 days.

Maha Sashthi
The sixth day of Devi Paksha marks the auspicious beginning of Durga Puja in Bengal. On the ‘Bodhon’ or first day, Goddess Durga is welcomed on earth along with her family.

Maha Saptami
On the early morning of Maha Saptami, Goddess Durga is worshiped with nine different plants, known as Nabapatrika. These plants fundamentally represent the nine different incarnations of Shakti. The idol is bathed in the Ganges, followed by the chanting of mantras.

Maha Ashtami
This day is the most sacred day of Durga Puja as Maa Durga is believed to enter and awaken the idol when priests perform rituals through the chanting of religious mantras.The devotees start the morning with Pushpanjali. They take holy bath and observe fast before offering Pushpanjali. With fresh flowers in hand, they recite the mantra, offer flowers to the feet of the Goddess.

The main attraction of the day is Kumari Puja. If you want to see the auspicious awakening of Goddess Durga, you have to visit the Belur Math in West Bengal where a young teenaged girl is worshiped by the devotees as the incarnation of Maa Durga.

Evening Aarti is performed with diyas, candles, and incense sticks. In the evening, Sandhi puja is performed at the end of Durga Ashtami and the beginning of Maha Navami. Sandhi Puja is one of the most important rituals during Durga Puja and is considered highly sacred.

Maha Navami
‘Maha Aarti’ brings the formal end to religious customs. Cultural festivals and celebrations like music, dance, drama enthrall the audience throughout the night. On Maha Navami, the fast is broken by a major Bhog and Prasad is offered to Goddess Durga and shared amongst devotees.

Vijaya Dashami or Dussehra
Vijayadashami, also known as Dussehra is celebrated in honour of the victory of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana and also the triumph of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura. This day, which is also a declared national holiday, is celebrated with the burning of the idol of Ravan and firecrackers across India.

In Bengal, Goddess Durga bids adieu with Her family. Devotees join hands with dhakis in the precision and the idols are immersed in the water in the evening. Devotees share sweets with each other and celebrate by dancing. The evening is enriched by various cultural programs like art, drama, dance and music.

With Ganesha’s Grace,
The GaneshaSpeaks.com Team