The Durga Puja Festival or Durgotsav is celebrated in West Bengal to worship goddess Durga and her victory over Asura Mahishasur. Though the festival is celebrated throughout Bengal, celebrations are very grand in the state capital, Kolkata. Bengali communities across the nation also celebrate the festival with a lot of pomp and grandeur. The sounds of conch shells(the shankh), the beats of dhaak, the “Ulu Dhani of Bengali women, pushpanjalis and many more activities take over the state of Bengal.
When will the festival be celebrated this year and how?
This year the festival will be celebrated Starting from today, Oct 15th-Oct 19th.
Maha Sashti (15th October 2018) – On this day, Maa Durga’s face is disclosed and other rituals Amontron, Bodhon and Adibash are performed.
Maha Saptami (16th October 2018) – This is the day when the main puja commences. The day begins before dawn with the ritual of “Kola Bou” or “Nabapatrika”. In this ritual a banana tree is immersed in water and beautified with a sari. The Kola Bou and nine plants symbolising nine forms of Maa Durga are placed beside the idol of Lord Ganesha and worshipped.
Maha Ashtami (17th October 2018) – On this day, Maa Durga killed the buffalo devil – Mahishasura. Apart from presenting prayers ‘Anjali’ to Goddess Durga, the ritual is Kumari Puja is also performed in this day. Girls less than age of nine are dressed up as Maa Durga and worshipped.
In the evening ‘Sandhi Puja’ is performed. Goddess Durga is worshipped as the incarnation Devi Chamunda in Sandhi Puja that lasts for 48 minutes (24 minutes of Ashtami and 24 minutes of Nabami Tithi). It is during this time that Maa Durga won the battle against Mahishasura.
Maha Navami 2018 (18th October 2018) – Sandhi Puja is followed by Maha Aarti on Nabami. After which recreational activities are held and Bhog is served.
Bijaya Dashami 2019 (19th October 2018) – The idol of Maa Durga is taken to water bodies in a procession and finally the visarjan is done.