DURGA PUJA 2017: Important Rituals for Durga Puja
India is a country full of festivals, Right after the national celebrations for Ganesh festival now is the time for the next big thing, it’s time to say Jai Mata Di everyone. A festival filled with enthusiasm and cheerfulness.
Durga Puja isn’t just about worshipping an idol for 9 days. What brings Maa Durga’s devotees together is the belief that ‘Maa’ will comfort them and ease them from all worries and fill their lives with happiness.
Akalbodhon (‘ultimate awakening of Durga’) in Bengal, Assam, and Odisha.
There are certain very special rituals that mark its celebration.
The It is believed that this is the day when the Goddess begins Her journey from Kailash Parbat on Amavasya (New Moon Day). They say various Gods present the Goddess with a variety of gifts. In its 17th edition, Vodafone Aagomoni will see an eclectic mix of music and dance legends – Gulzar, Bhupinder Singh, Mitali Singh, Mamata Shankar, Usha Utthup, Soumyajit Das, Sourendra Mullick, Upal Sengupta, Anindya Chatterjee, Iman Chakraborty, Indrani Dutta. It can be viewed LIVE on Vodafone Play app. If you are in Kolkata do try to make it to the celebrations on Monday, September 18, 2017, at Science City Auditorium, Kolkata from 7: 30 PM onwards.
• Shashthi: Kalaparambho (Pre-Puja Arrangements)
This day marks the beginning of the actual celebrations as the deity is believed to have arrived in the mortal world, on this day, with her four children – Ganesha, Kartik, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. The idol of Mother Durga is welcomed at pandals and devotees celebrate her arrival after a yearlong wait.
• Saptami: Kola Bou worship
On Saptami, “Kola Bou” (Banana Plant) is worshipped and placed beside Lord Ganesha, signifying the arrival of his wife. Nine different plants are brought together and tied to the banana tree – each representing a Goddess – and they are collectively called “Nabapatrika” or “Kolabou”. The turmeric plant signifies Goddess Durga and is dressed in a yellow, red-bordered silk sari.
• ‘Durga Ashtami’: The Ritual of Rituals
This is considered the most important day of the festival – the day you tend to save your best clothes and make up for. Of course, people still want to stand in queues outside the crowded ‘pandals’ and they make sure they don’t miss the morning ‘pushpanjali’ (flower offering to the God)!
Major rituals on the day include the sacrifice of a bottle gourd symbolizing the end of the demon ‘Mahishasura’ who was believed to be half-human and half-buffalo.
• Nabami: Pandal Hopping Day
The day commences with ‘Sandhi Puja’ which starts in the last 24 minutes of Maha-Ashtami and extends into 24 minutes of the 9th day.
• Dashami: ‘Shubho Vijayadashami’
The final day of the long festive celebration. Women playfully smear the faces of their companions with sindoor (vermilion) as a mark of the victory of good over evil.
‘Ma Durga’ is immersed with the promise ‘Asche bochhor abaar hobey’ (May the celebrations resume next year) and the belief that she will now return to Mount Kailash to be with Shiva and the cosmos. People greet each other with the salutation ‘Shubho Bijoya’ – meaning ‘The Auspicious Victory’ – and exchange sweets and gifts, amidst the grief of the immortal power departing.