Durga Puja is just not the occasion to worship Goddess Durga, but is a festival that every Bengali and every resident of Kolkata looks upto. People living outside Kolkata or outside the country; crave to return to their motherland to celebrate the greatest festival of Bengalis, Durga Puja, with their loved ones.
Durga puja is celebrated generally at the end of September or in the month of October, which is the season of autumn. The festival is closely related to the great Indian epic of Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Rama worshipped goddess Durga before going to war with the demon, Ravana.The puja is a ten day festivity in which the last four days, Shasti, Saptami, Asthami and Navami, followed by Dusherra is celebrated with great pomp and show. ‘Mahalaya,’ which appears one week prior to puja announces the start of ‘Devi Paksha,’ the fortnight of the goddess.
As the milky white clouds float at the deep blue sky, the white ‘kash’ flowers cover the green fields and the sweet aroma of ‘siuli’ flowers fill the air, arrival of Durga Puja is announced and Bengalis folk down to their hometowns. As it is a reunion of brothers, sisters and friends after a long time, the mornings and evenings are spend chit chatting (adda) with the loved ones; at this time people seem to travel back to their childhood.
Beauty and Creativity
Kolkata and even the other towns of West Bengal at present are engrossed in theme puja. The puja pandals are beautifully crafted to take the form of popular monuments, like the Akshardham temple, Sun temple, while the vibrant lightings portray the interesting current affairs. There are several competitions which select the best puja of the town and puja committees spend lavishly to be the best.
Durga puja offers a great cause to shop your heart out. Puja shopping starts months before the puja; people of all age start preparing for the occasion; it is a custom to welcome the goddess and worship Her in new clothes. Red bordered white sari is a must at this occasion and hence is must in Bengali lady’s wardrobe. This colour combination is considered sacred.
Festivity to feast
Food forms an important part of Durga Puja. Be it the ‘bhog’ served after puja at the puja pandals or the Bengali cuisines prepared at home, food loving Bengalis treat their taste buds to the fullest at puja. While the breakfast starts with hot luchis, aloo dum and rasgullas, the lunch is generally a meal of steaming white rice, pulao, spicy mutton curry and varied fish curry along with several vegetarian curries. Bengalis are sweet lovers and hence people forget their diet charts and relish the traditional Bengali deserts of rasmalai, barfi, payesh, besan and naryial ladoo.
Hence, the divine occasion of Durga Puja is a landmark in the life of every Bengali. People from all world visits to India for life engage themselves in this joyous occasion, overlooking the daily stresses.