The Bengali and Odiya people eagerly await Durga Puja more than any other event. It is commemorated in honor of Durga Maa’s amazing triumph against Mahishasura, the Demon King. Mahishasura was slain by Goddess Durga, who also protected the universe from his violence.
This year October 1 marks the beginning of Durga Puja, which lasts through October 5. In our nation and abroad, Bengalis and Odiyas mostly celebrate Durga Puja to the fullest. West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Bihar, Andra Pradesh (Hyderabad), Gujarat (Surat), Maharashtra (Mumbai and Pune), Bangalore, including numerous foreign locations are where you will find Durga Puja pandals the most (US, UK).
Durga Puja 2022 Dates
- Mahalaya: Sunday, September 25
- Maha-Panchami: Friday, September 30
- Maha-Shashthi: Saturday, October 1
- Maha-Saptami: Sunday, October 2
- Maha-Ashtami: Monday, October 3
- Maha-Navami: Tuesday, October 4
- Dashami or Durga Visarjan: Wednesday, October 5
Durga Puja with its Traditional Rituals
The idols of Goddess Durga are exquisitely decorated just before Navratri begins, but sans her eyes. By performing rituals on the day of Mahalaya, Goddess Durga is asked to visit the planet. Therefore, on this specific day, Her eyes are painted and drawn by performing lucky ceremonies known as Chokku Daan. She descends towards the Earth to greet everyone as she draws attention to the idol of Goddess Durga. Even the images of Lord Ganesh, Goddess Lakhsmi, and Goddess Saraswati are beautifully painted in contrasting hues.
Goddess Durga, Lord Ganesh, Goddess Lakhsmi, and Goddess Saraswati are brought to the pandal and set inside it on Panchami, the fifth day.
Five-Day Durga Puja Celebrations
- Shasthi [6th Day]: On this day, Goddess Durga descends to Earth with her four children, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartikeya, and Ganesh. In the evening, the face of Goddess Durga and other idols are revealed.
- Saptami [7th Day]: On this day, a small banana plant called Kola Bou is brought to the river for a bath and dressed in a red-border sari in the morning before being returned to its original location next to the idol of Goddess Durga. The purohit offers up more prayers! Additionally, the Pran Pratisthan ritual, which draws upon the strength of Durga Ma, is performed.
- Ashtami [8th Day]: The most significant Durga Puja day is Ashtami, on which devotees swarm to the pandal early in the morning to offer Pushpanjali without eating anything. The morning ritual of Kumari Puja is when Goddess Durga is honored. For worshipping Durga Maa in her Chamunda form, Sandhi Puja is carried out in the evening.
- Navami [9th Day]: The final day of worship culminates in a maha aarti to signify the conclusion of prayers and rites. Mahishasura is thought to have been slain on this day by Durga Maa. Goddess Durga is presented with her favorite bhog (meal), which is then distributed among the worshippers. She is also decorated with a lengthy Kamal flower garland.
- Dashami [10th Day]: Married ladies bring red vermillion sindoor to Goddess Durga in the evening, present her with sweets, and then cover themselves in it. After being submerged in the river with her children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartikeya, and Ganesh, Goddess Durga departs for her husband’s residence that evening. Goddess Durga’s devotees joyfully bid her farewell and ask that she return soon.
Durga puja pandals also organize cultural activities comprising singing, dancing, musical bands, fancy dress competition, skits, fun games, etc. They also arrange various food stalls so that whoever visits the pandals can relish good food and snacks. People thoroughly enjoy the five days roaming many pandals in their cities, wearing new dresses.
Lakshmi Puja is celebrated on Monday, October 10, and Kali Puja/Diwali is celebrated on Monday, October 24.
Wishing everyone Happy Durga Puja!
Follow me as @SanghamitraRch on Twitter.
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