One of India’s most significant and well-known festivals is Durga Puja. A ten-day festival honours the goddess Durga’s victory over the demon King Mahishasura. The festival of Durga Puja, also referred to as Durgotsava or Sharadotsav, is observed in the month of Ashwin, which falls between the months of September and October on the Gregorian calendar.
Families and friends can get together to celebrate Durga Puja. A time to worship the goddess Durga and ask for her blessings is also at hand. People celebrate Durga Puja in their homes, temples, and communal pandals.
Durga Puja Pandals
The pandals are among the most famous features of Durga Puja. Over the course of the festival, pandals are erected all over India. There are lights, flowers, and other festive decorations on these pandals. The goddess Durga’s idol is also kept there.
Usually constructed by community organisations, pandals can be quite expensive. Kolkata, West Bengal, is home to some of India’s most renowned pandals. Every year, millions of people visit these pandals.
Durga Puja Pujas
The Durga Puja celebrations’ puja is their most significant parts. Pandits conduct the puja, which includes praying and making offerings to the goddess Durga.
Usually, the puja is conducted twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Pandits chant hymns and carry out various rituals throughout the puja. They also present the goddess Durga with offerings of flowers, fruits, and other things.
Durga Puja Rituals
Various Durga Puja rituals are carried out throughout the festival. Among the most popular rituals are:
- Aarti: To worship the goddess Durga, an aarti ritual is carried out. During the aarti, a thali (metal plate) containing lights and offerings is waved in front of the goddess Durga’s idol.
- Pushpanjali: The goddess Durga is presented with flowers as part of the pushpanjali ritual. The bouquet of flowers is presented as a sign of love and adoration.
- Bhog: The goddess Durga is served food as part of the bhog ritual. The food is given as a representation of people’s love towards Goddess Maa Durga.
Durga Puja Dance and Music
Durga Puja Food
Feasts are common during Durga Puja. During the festival, many people prepare special dishes. Popular dishes served during Durga Puja include:
The rice and lentil dish khichdi is well-liked throughout India. The dish is not only easy to make but also very tasty.
In North India, a dish called labra is a mixture of vegetables. Usually, carrots, potatoes, peas, and other vegetables are used in its preparation.
Payesh is a rice pudding that is well-liked throughout India. Usually made with milk, rice, and sugar, it is a sweet dish.
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Durga Puja Immersion
The goddess Durga’s idol is submerged in a river or other body of water on the last day of Durga Puja. This ritual represents the goddess going back to her residence in the Himalayas.
The immersion procession is a significant occasion that draws large crowds. The goddess Durga’s idol is submerged in water after being carried through the streets in a procession.
The goddess Durga is farewelled and thanked for her blessings during the immersion procession. It’s also a time to ask for her to come back the following year in prayer.
Why Do We Celebrate Durga Puja?
The celebration of Durga Puja honours the win of good over evil. Additionally, it honours the feminine divine. The goddess Durga is revered as a representation of tenacity, power, and bravery.
Additionally, during Durga Puja, people should pray for their families’ and their community’s welfare. People make requests of the goddess Durga for prosperity, wealth, and good health.
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What is the Importance of Durga Puja?
The festival of Durga Puja is significant for many reasons. It is a time to rejoice in the ultimate victory of good over evil, to honour the divine feminine, and to offer up prayers for the welfare of the family and the neighbourhood.
People gather to celebrate their cultures and traditions during Durga Puja as well. It is a festival that unites people from all different backgrounds.
You can learn more about the celebration of Durga Puja in India as well as Navratri in India, in this article which we have dedicated to this topic.