Customs and Rituals of Durga Puja
Durga Puja or Bengalis' Durgotsav, is the greatest annual festival in the eastern region of India, mainly in West Bengal. Starting from Mahalaya or Debipokkho (Fortnight of the Goddess) this amazing festivity continues until the immersion of the Durga idol i.e. on Vijaya Dashami. Though this eminent festival is five day long feast, the zeal associated with the festival takes a flying start months before. Mahalaya, the no-moon day (Amavyasa) of the month of Ashwin, marks the beginning of the Durga puja festivities. Then after six days, the Durgotsav starts with Panchami (fifth day) and ends with Dashami (tenth day). Though the main rituals starts from the seventh day from Mahalaya, that is from Saptami, for the mass, the festivity begins from the fifth day (Maha Shasti). For these six consecutive days, Bengal and Bengalis engross themselves in a week-long gala festival marked by unbound fun, frolic and feasting. As exchanging gifts are significant to this festival, you can send gifts to India.
The following paragraphs discuss about the customs and rituals of a traditional Durga Puja. In case if you are wondering when is Durga Puja 2011, then kindly note that Durga Puja starts from 2nd October, 2011 and ends on 6th October, 2011. Durga Puja 2011 is expected to be celebrated with this enthusiasm and vigor as described.
Maha Shashti ~ According to the Hindu mythology, on this day, Goddess Durga from her ethereal adobe comes to the earth, accompanied by her four children. Devotees on this earth welcomes the Divine Mother with the dhak beats and great pomp. On this day the ritual of unveiling the face of the idol is performed which is considered as the most significant ritual of the day. This face unveiling ritual is followed by some other meaningful rituals like Bodhon, Amontron and Adhibas. Finally the main Durga puja commences.
Maha Saptami ~ Traditionally Saptami is considered as the first day of Durga Puja. Nabapatrika or Kola-Bou, is given a holy bath when the first rays of the sun kiss the surface of the earth. Then the tree-goddess is dressed in a yellow silk sari it is placed beside Lord Ganesha. Subsequently, the ritual of worshipping of nine types of plants is performed. These nine types of plants are worshipped as nine different avatars of Durga. After this Kalparambha and Mahasnan, Maha Saptami puja begins.
Maha Ashtami ~ The next day is Maha Ashtami which starts with reciting holy hymns from Sanskrit scriptures. Thousands of people take part in this recital and offer Anjali to the Goddesses and Gods. This is a very popular part of the whole puja. Kumari Puja or worshipping little girls as Devi Maa is probably the most significant part of the rituals performed on this day. Another main part of Durga puja i.e. Sandhi Puja is performed in the evening of Maha Ashtami. Thousands of diyas are illuminated, hom-yajna is perfomed as it marks the sacrifice of the buffalo demon king, Mahishasura.
Maha Navami ~ The ninth day of Durga Puja is Maha Navami. The end of Sandhi Puja marks the beginning of Maha Navami. By performing Maha Arti the priest brings a formal end of the religious customs of Durga Puja. The rest of the day observes a grand celebration and merrymaking among the common people. Bhog is offered to the Gods and Goddesses. Afterwards, this bhog is partaken by all as Maha Prasad.
Vijaya Dashami ~ The last and final day of Durga Puja, Dashami is a day when everybody bids adieu to the Mother Goddess with a heavy heart. Dashami paints the city in a morose shade of crimson red of sindur where amidst the melancholic beats of dhaak and thick smoke of dhuno, Devi Durga returns to her heavenly adobe. The tearful farewell is known as Visarjan. In this grand send-off, the idols of Durga and her children are brought to a riverside to immerse it in the water. After this immersion ceremony people greet each other hearty Bijaya wishes.
This festival is largely famous in India and festival preparations begin a month or two in advance. Extravagantly decorated pandals with festive illumination of lights in every corner of the streets in Kolkata makes the affair even more grand. As exchange of exotic gifts is quite common, a wide profusion of Durga puja gifts are arranged in the ‘Durga Puja gifts’ category of site GiftstoIndia24x7.com. You can amaze your loving mom, caring wife, sweet sister or gracious girlfriends with amazing gifts from ‘Gifts for her’ section. In the same way, Gifts for Him, Kids are also arranged to suit their preferences. However, the most exciting variety of gifts for this occasion is gift hamper or gift voucher. You can only send adorable variety of gifts to India from US only when you remember when is Durga Puja? So, bewilder your loved ones in India with heartfelt gifts on 2nd October, 2011, when the festival starts. So, every time you want to surprise your loved ones with amazing gifts send gifts to India, through this site that has been delivering sweet smiles since a decade in the form of gifts.