commences on the first and ends on the tenth day of the bright half of
Aswayuja (September-October). It is held in commemoration of the victory of
Durga over Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed demon. In Bengal, Her image is
worshipped for nine days and then cast into water. The tenth day is called Vijaya Dasami or Dussera (the "tenth day"). Processions with Her image are
taken out along the streets of villages and cities.
The mother of Durga (that is, the wife of the King of the Himalayas) longed to
see her daughter. Durga was permitted by Lord Shiva to visit her beloved
mother only for nine days in the year. The festival of Durga Puja marks this
brief visit and ends with the Vijaya Dasami day, when Goddess Durga leaves for
Her return to Mount Kailash.
Navratras — the pious nine days mark the return of festive season throughout the country. 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
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.
‘Dandiya’ is the main attraction during these days when children, youngsters and the old ones dance together on various religious and non religious numbers holding ‘Dandiya sticks’ in their hands. They enjoy and offer their prayers to Maa Durga.