Durga Puja, the festival celebrated to pay homage to Goddess Durga, is one of the numerous festivals celebrated in India. The significance of Durga Puja extends far beyond a mere festival; it symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and the divine feminine power, with devotees coming together to celebrate and seek the blessings of Goddess Durga. What is unique about our festivals is how we all get together to celebrate them. Religion, caste or any other barrier have no role to play in festivities. Our festivals are a testimony to our being one despite all the diversity. This festival is at the heart of Indian culture and many eagerly await the announcement of the 2023 Durga Puja date to plan their celebrations in advance.
Durga Puja Festival is Celebrated in Which State?
Also known as Durgotsava or Sharodotsava, Durga Puja is celebrated in different parts of the country like Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Bihar and Jharkhand. However, it is usually associated with the Bengali community.
Durga Puja History
Why Durga Puja is celebrated is a question often asked by those curious about this vibrant festival’s spiritual history. India is etched in the history of Hindu mythology that gives birth to the traditions of this eminent festival. The history of Durga Puja can be traced back to bygone days, having developed from Hindu mythology. As the story goes, Goddess Durga was brought into being by the combined powers of numerous Gods to get the better of the dreaded demon king Mahishasura. She is depicted riding a lion and wielding an array of weapons, symbolizing her fierce protective energy.
The festival involves vibrant ceremonies, artistic presentations, and the erection of exquisitely crafted makeshift edifices termed “pandals” to shelter the statuettes of Goddess Durga and related divinities.
Individuals from all backgrounds come together to observe Durga Puja with fervor and vigor. Durga Puja is of great religious connotation, but it also plays an essential part in enhancing art, culture, and unity in places where it is esteemed.
What is the Significance of Durga Puja?
Durga Puja is an annual five-day celebration which pays homage to Maa Durga. The significance of Durga Puja is held in the message of victory of good over evil. As per Hindu mythology, Durga Maa kills the evil demon king Mahishasur and then visits her earthly abode during this time to bless her devotees. It is also, in part, a harvest festival which celebrates the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation.
The festival begins on the same day as Navratri, a nine-day festival celebrated in many parts of northern and western India. It also coincides with the festival of Dussehra.
Also Read: Navratri Saree Colours for Nine Days
Bengalis believe that puja is when the goddess comes to her parent’s house on earth with her children Ganesha, Kartikeya, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Several rites and rituals are performed during the five days of the puja.
When is Durga Puja Celebrated?
The Durga Puja date 2023 is a highly anticipated event, for devotees across the Indian nation who are eagerly waiting for the festivities to begin. The festival’s date typically varies each year based on the lunar calendar. As per the Indian calendar, Durga Puja is celebrated in the month of Ashwin, which corresponds to the months of September- October in the Gregorian calendar. It is a ten-day festival, of which the last five are the most significant.
The first day of Durga Puja is Mahalaya which heralds the advent of the goddess. The celebrations begin on the sixth day, that is, Sasthi. During the following three days, Saptami, Ashtami and Navmi, the goddess, is worshipped in her various forms like Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya.
Rituals of Durga Puja
There are several associated rituals of Durga Puja, performed by the devotees with a lot of passion and fervour.
Every day while the priests perform the rituals associated with the worship, devotees pay their respects through Pushpanjali or Anjali, a floral offering. Anjali takes place on all three days of Saptami, Ashtami and Navami. The auspicious hour for Anjali, always in the morning, is announced beforehand. It is customary to fast until the devotees have offered the day’s Anjali.
Sandhi Puja is another ritual performed at the juncture when Ashtami ends, and Navami begins. It marks the moment when the goddess emerged to kill the demons. One hundred and eight lamps are lit, and the priest utters the mantras while the drummers break into a frenzied beat.
Another ritual which takes place on Navmi is the Dhunuchi naach. As part of this, clay pots are filled with burning charcoal which people take in their hands and dance to the beating of the dhaak.
How to Celebrate Durga Puja?
Durga Puja involves grand processions, elaborate idol decorations, and cultural shows. These cultural shows usually involve traditional dances and music performances. Devotees go to elaborately decorated pandals, pray, and feast together. People generally wear new clothes on all days and adorn their houses beautifully as well. Many rituals and take place where people of all ages take part and enjoy the grand festivities.
End of Durga Puja Celebrations
Vijayadashmi, the tenth day, marks the end of the celebrations. The goddess is bid farewell before being taken out for immersion in the river.
One of the rituals is Sindur Khela, where married women offer vermillion and sweets to the goddess; after that, they smear each other with vermillion.
Amid chants, drumbeats, singing and dancing, the idols are carried in large processions to the local rivers for immersion.
This custom symbolises the departure of the deity from her parents’ home to that of her husband, Lord Shiva, who lives in the Himalayas.
Throughout the celebrations, people visit different Durga Puja pandals, which are beautifully decorated with the idols of the goddess prominently displayed.
Devotees throng the pandals wearing new clothes. The pandals have various stalls for food, jewellery, clothes and other things. The daytime is all about eating the bhog while in the evening the attraction is the arti. During evenings the pandals are a sight to behold, with people having a good time with friends and family. The women, with their beautiful sarees, add to the glamour.
Durga Puja 2023 Date
As the Durga Puja 2023 countdown continues, excitement can be felt in the air! People are eagerly waiting to rejoice with their loved ones as they celebrate this grand festival.
The Durga Puja 2023 date is marked from the 20th to 24th of October 2023.
To truly enjoy Durga Puja, it’s essential to know how to celebrate Durga Puja with the local community, partaking in rituals and cultural events while spreading love and happiness. Durga Puja is not just a religious festival; it’s a cultural extravaganza that celebrates the spirit of togetherness and spirituality.
Happy Durga Puja!