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About Durga Puja | দুর্গা পূজার গল্প

About Durga Puja

Durga Puja,  (Bengali: দুর্গাপূজা, Assamese: দুৰ্গা পূজা, Odia: ଦୁର୍ଗା ପୂଜା ) also lovingly mentioned as Durgotsav (Bengali: দুর্গোৎসব  “Festival of Durga”) or Sharadotsav is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia particularly in India that celebrates worship of the goddess Durga. The most important days are observed as Mahalaya, Panchami, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami (or Dashami, the same day celebrated as Dusshera in other parts of India and world).

Durga Puja is celebrated from the sixth to tenth day of lunar fortnight (shukla paksha/ শুক্লপক্ষ). This phase falls in the fortnight corresponding to the festival is called Devi Paksha (Bengali: দেবী পক্ষ), “Fortnight of the Goddess”). Devi Paksha is preceded by Mahalaya (মহালয়া), the last day of the previous fortnight Pitri Paksha (পিতৃপক্ষ), “Fortnight of the Forefathers”).

Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura (মহিষাসুর). Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomises the victory of Good over Evil. In Bengal, Durga is worshipped as Durgotinashini, the destroyer of evil and the protector of her devotees.

Durga Puja is widely celebrated in various Indian states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Odisha, Tripura, Meghalaya and West Bengal. In Kolkata it is so huge that it is celebrated as 4 days annual holiday. Apart from eastern India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab,Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. Nowadays, Durgotsab is also celebrated in countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Singapore and Kuwait.

The prominence of Durga Puja increased gradually during the British Rule in Bengal. After the Hindu reformists identified Durga with India, she became an icon for the Indian independence movement. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the tradition of Baroyari or Community Puja was popularised due to this. After independence, Durga Puja became one of the largest celebrated festivals in India and now in the entire World.

Durga is considered as a form of Goddess Parvati and hence Lord Shiva is also worshipped along with  Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya (Karthik), who are considered to be Ma Durga’s children. Worship of Ma Durga starts with  “Kala Bou” that includes  a plantain (banana) tree. Modern traditions have come to include the display of decorated pandals (Theme Puja) and artistically depicted sculptures (murti) of Durga, exchange of Vijaya (বিজয়া) greetings and publication of Puja Magazines & Annuals. Durga Puja also brings varieties of foods and fun-times especially for the Bengali (বাঙ্গালী ) community.

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