Durga puja is one of the major festivals that is celebrated in India. During the festival, Goddess Durga is worshipped and idols are placed in pandals which are setup for 9 days. It is celebrated in the month of Ashvin as per the hindu calendar. The important days in the festival are known as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami. In 2018, the important days in the Durga Puja festival will fall on the following days:
|Name of the day||Day||Date||States in which it is celebrated|
|Mahalaya||Tuesday||09/10/2018||Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh|
|Maha Panchami||Sunday||14/10/2018||Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh|
|Maha Sasthi||Monday||15/10/2018||Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh|
For 2019, The Dates Of Durga Puja Are As Follows:
|Name of the day||Day||Date||States|
For 2020, The Dates Of Durga Puja Are As Follows:
|Name of the day||Day||Date||States|
Festive Traditions And Activities
Many exciting festive activities are organised on the eve of the festival of Durga puja. Some of these are:
- Setting up of ‘pandals’: A ‘Pandal’ is a place where the idol of Goddess Durga is kept. All the rituals and prayers take place inside the pandal. Magnificent pandals are setup before the puja begins. Architecture of the world’s most famous buildings is replicated. New designs are also laid out.
- Street food stalls: Alongside pandals, many food stalls are set up which sell variety of street foods ranging from golgappas to bajjis to samosas.
- Shopping: As per tradition in some of the states such as West Bengal, people wear new dresses every day which is an excuse for shopaholics to shop.
Detailed Information About The Festival Of Durga Puja
Durga puja is one of the mostly grandly celebrated festivals in the country with the celebrations carrying over well beyond a week. Each day has its own special meaning and different activities are carried out everyday. Some of these are:
- Maha Shashti: As per mythology, Maha Shashti is known as the day when Goddess Durga landed on earth with her 4 children Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Laxmi, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya. On the eve of Maha Shashti, the face of the idol of Goddess Durga is unveiled. The rituals performed on the day are ‘Amontron, ‘Bodhon’ and ‘Adhibash’. Drums known as ‘Dhaak’ are banged to signal the arrival of Goddess Durga everywhere.
- Maha Saptami: On the eve of Maha Saptami, the Maha puja is performed. Just before the sun rises, a banana tree is submerged in holy water and then it is covered with a new sari just like a newly wed woman. This ritual is known as ‘Kola bou’ or ‘Nabapatrika’. The banana tree is kept with idol of Goddess Durga. 9 plants are also kept which represent the 9 forms of Goddess Durga.
- Maha Ashtami: As per mythology, Maha Ashtami is believed to be the day when Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura, also known as the ‘Buffalo devil’. In the older days, a buffalo was sacrificed to mark the occasion. Hymns are chanted in sanskrit and people offer their prayers. The prayers are known as ‘Anjali’. Girls that are less than 9 years are depicted as Goddess Durga and are worshipped. This ritual is known as ‘Kumari puja’. After this the ‘Sandhi puja’ is performed.
- Maha Navami: After the ‘Sandhi puja’ ends, Maha Navami starts. The ‘Maha arati’ is performed on the eve of ‘Maha Navami’. This is followed by the organising of recreational activities after which the ‘bhog’ is served to everyone.
- Maha Dashmi: On the eve of Maha Dashmi, the idol of Goddess Durga is immersed in the holy water of river Ganges. Before the immersion, processions are carried out by the worshippers on trucks with the beating of drums which is accompanied by singing and dancing. During the procession, women that are married throw vermillion on each other. In the evening, people visit each other’s houses and wish ‘Vijoy Dashmi’. Special food dishes are also prepared.
Celebration of Durga puja in different Indian States
Different states in the country celebrate Durga puja in their own unique way. Some of these are:
- Uttar Pradesh and Bihar: Durga puja celebrations in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is very similar as locals of both the states organise feeding of little girls on the last day of the festival. The scripture ‘Durga Saptashati’ is also recited in temples.
- West Bengal and Assam: In Assam and West Bengal, grand pandals are set up all over with varying themes. On the last day of the festival, the idol is immersed in the holy river of Ganges.
- Gujarat: In Gujarat, the festival of Durga puja is celebrated as Navratri with the famous dance ‘garba’ being performed by locals in events organised at night.
- Tamil Nadu: During the festival of Tamil Nadu, the locals worship Goddess Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi. In a tradition which is unique to the state of Tamil Nadu, young local girls display wooden dolls. The ritual is known as Golu.
- Punjab: During the 9 days of celebration of the Durga puja festival, ‘Jagarans’ are held every night. On the eve of Ashtami, young girls from the age of 5 to 10 are given food, gifts and money.
- Andhra Pradesh: On the eve of the festival in Andhra Pradesh, as per the ritual the married women worship Goddess Gauri and the unmarried pray for the spouse of their choice. The Durga puja in Andhra Pradesh is known as Bathukamma Panduga. For worship purposes, the women create flower stacks which are immersed later in the river.
- Chhattisgarh: The locals of Chhattisgarh celebrate the festival for a period of 75 days. Bastar, a town in Chhattisgarh has known to have celebrated the festival for over 500 years.
- Karnataka: The festival of Durga puja is known as Dussehra in Karnataka. Mysore is famous for its celebrations of the festival.
- Maharashtra: In Maharashtra also people play garba on the eve of the festival. Completing business deals and buying property is considered lucky at the time of the festival of durga puja.
- Himachal Pradesh: The locals of Himachal Pradesh start the celebrations of the festival when it is about to end in the rest of the country. Dhalpur maidan situated in Kullu valley is famous for its celebrations.
Durga puja is considered to be one of the major festivals the people of this country celebrate. Wherever you go, from Himachal in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south, it is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm.