Durga puja — the greatest festival of India
is celebrated with great enthusiasm in every corner of the country. The nine
incarnations of Maa Durga are worshipped with devotion by the devotees of Maa
Bhagwati. The nine incarnations of Maa Durga include Shailputri, Brahamcharini,
Chandraghanta, Kusumanda, Sikandmata, Katyayni, Kaalratri, Maha Gauri and
People worship Durga, the divine mother to seek
her blessings and guidance to follow the right path in life. Lord Rama also
invoked the blessings of the Divine Mother to destroy Ravana, the symbol of
evil. Dusehra festival, which usually falls on the last day of Shri Durga Puja
celebrations is observed throughout the country as victory of Lord Rama over
Shri Lakshmi Puja, the goddess of wealth falls on
the full moon night following Durga Puja and is celebrated with great devotion.
The worship of goddess Kali symbolises the purpose to see removal of darkness
from the minds and to imbibe the spirit of light in the way of life. This
celebration coincides with the Deepawali festival.
Shri Saraswati is the goddess of learning. It is
a special festival for the learners held on the fifth day of Basant. The days
coincide with the harvesting of golden paddy in the villages in eastern parts of
the country. The Bengalis show their happiness when the sky becomes clear and
there are excellent weather conditions before Durga Puja. People chant hymns and
sing bhajans to welcome goddess Uma, the daughter of Bengal at her visit to
mother Menka’s house for four days. During these four days, the Bengalis from
all castes, creeds and communities eat, sing and dance together and offer
prayers to the Divine mother. It is believed that on the tenth day Uma or Gauri
goes back to her husband Lord Shiva with a tearful farewell to her parents.
People hold Maha Saptami Puja, Maha Ashtami Puja, Maha Navmi Puja and Maha
Dashmi Puja at their houses. They invite little unmarried girls — the Kanjaks to
their house, worship them and offer red chunnis with prasad of puri, chane and
halwa as day symbolises the nine incarnations of Maa Durga.
Some of the devotees of divine mother keep fast
on all nine days. They eat food which is specially prepared for the occasion and
include fruits, milk, chappatis of ‘singhare ka atta’ and ‘oghle ka atta’,
papads made of sago and many other things prepared for fasts.