India is a land of festivals. Currently being a secular place, there is no dearth of points to celebrate in this land of miracles. From Xmas to Eid ul Zoha, Independence Working day to the Cricket Environment Cup, there is rarely anything that Indians do not like celebrating. Merely level us towards an situation and we are all for it. But concealed amongst this lengthy checklist of celebrations is a gem in the form of Durga Puja, one thing celebrated in its total glory in the Bengali community.
So, what accurately IS the Durga Puja?
Properly, for the sake of clarity, Puja refers to a spiritual pageant. Nonetheless, for us Bengalis, Durga Puja is fewer of a ‘Puja’ and much more of the embodiment of the spirit of festiveness. What particularly does that signify? Effectively, allow us go again a number of millenniums to solution that concern.
The custom of invoking the goddess Durga (or the mother, recognized as ‘Ma’) is 1st considered to have been done by Lord Ram ahead of he went forth to fight Ravana, as documented in the epic Ramayana. Even so, the custom lay dormant until about the late 1500s, when the landlords in Bengal took it up. It was finally offered its ultimate form in the 18th century as Baroyaari (or twelve friends’) puja, a time period which at last arrived to refer to community sponsored Durga Pujas held in Kolkata.
Basically, all sections of India celebrates this interval, but in the kind of Navratri. It constitutes of nine days’ value of fasting, which ends with Dussehra, a working day the place an effigy of Ravana is burned as a way to exhibit that evils are always championed by superior as Lord Ram had championed higher than Ravana.
In Bengal, on the other hand, the indicating of these ten days are pretty unique.
My earliest memories of Durga Puja are that of waking up in the center of the night to hear to Mahalaya on the radio. It is a programme that has been airing on the initial working day of the Bengali month Ashwin for a lot more than seven decades and four generations of Bengalis, forcing them to wake up at 4 am, a thing I nevertheless do religiously each year on that certain day. While the magic of the scent, the fifty percent awoken self and realizing Ma is coming has relatively diminished with the yrs, the idea of one thing so collectively powerful that it makes a full neighborhood search ahead to it continue to retains a terrific deal of charm nevertheless.
We deal with Ma Durga as anything more than just the goddess. When it is true that she embodies the uncooked power (or Shakti) that overcame evil by slaying the evil demon Mahisasur (consequently the term Mahisasur-mardini), she is significantly Much more than just that. The 10 days that start with Mahalaya signify her yearly check out to her paternal dwelling in Bengal with four of her youngsters. As such Ma is, at the identical time, a mother, a spouse, a goddess, and most importantly, a member of our household. We pamper her, we regard her, we appreciate her and we adore her. She is far more than just a divinity.
To us Bengalis, she embodies our truest character. No subject in which a Bengali may possibly be, occur Durga Puja, he/she feels a relationship to his/her relatives.
THIS is what it means to celebrate Pujo (a colloquial term for Durga Puja).
Frankly, it can not be in contrast to nearly anything else in the globe. But, recall the togetherness 1 will get when traveling to the family members, or the warmth throughout Christmas, or the experience you get when you stop by your spouse and children soon after a year absent? That is what Pujo implies to a Bengali. It is a lot more than celebrating a spiritual festival. The notion of Pujo is bringing absolutely everyone with each other. And what much better way can there be than a mom facilitating all that? We consume, we cry, we chat, be joyful and rejoice something that is basically unheard of wherever else in the world. It does not issue what you religion is. Regardless of whether a Muslim, a Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Jain or just about anything in between (which include atheists), if you are a Bengali at heart, Durga Puja is for you. From traveling to the tens of countless numbers of makeshift podiums (or pandals) for hoisting Ma Durga to having a cup of tea in the center of the night (underneath a tree in the community shop because it appears to inevitably rain all through Puja evenings these times, primarily if you are out at two am) to dancing during the idol immersion ceremony (referred to as Bhashan), Durga Puja is anything that you have to expertise at the very least at the time in your lifestyle.