Durga Puja Celebrations
Durga Puja celebrations take place on huge extent with puja pandals spotting every place of West Bengal. Durge Puja is also celebrated in other regions of the country and abroad as well because of immigrant Bengali population. Puja preparations begin well before the arrival of actual day. If you are searching for bargains, this is the best time for it.
During Durga Puja’s first 4 days, alongside actual Puja, most of the pandals arrange different types of competition to entertain the local people. It’s time for party for adults as well as children because both participate enthusiastically in fun and play. Home talent gets opportunity to perform with more well-known artists.
The festivities start from Maha Shashthi (sixth day from day after Mahalaya) when priest reveals the deity in a puja identified as bodhan. On that day, women fast for their family’s well-being which is broken in evening with luchis (bread made from flour) and fruits. A visit to a local pandal is a must.
Maha Saptami (7th day) starts with worship of deity, trailed by Anjali as a devotee makes prayers and gives flowers with empty stomach and reciting mantras to Goddess then only one can take the Prasad (in which sweetmeat given). Bhog (meal which is provided to the people after a part given to the Goddess) in lunchtime is arranged for those who draw together in pandals.
Maha Ashtami (8th day) is a very significant day. The priest gives life into idol of Durga since he performs Sandhi puja (worship in evening) to the reciting of shlokas. The mirror image of idol of Durga has to be viewed in bowl of water because it provides the impression of movement. Kumari puja (worship of young age girls) is an older custom still continued in some temples.
All these particular ceremonies are combined with Anjali, Prasad and Bhog respectively. Among the highlights of evenings are gastronomical treats which may be bought from stalls rich in pandals.
On Maha Navmi (9th day), meat is given out in numerous pandals as element of Bhog, though never in temples. It’s the second to last day of Puja.