The Durga Puja is an annual festival of Hindus, which is celebrated by worshiping Goddess Durga. Hindu Goddess Durga is believed to have killed the demon Mahishasura.
The festival marks “victory of good over evil”. It takes place in the month of Ashwin from the first to the tenth day of the bright fortnight. It is an occasion of great enthusiasm and festivity for the Hindus. On this occasion schools, colleges, and offices are closed for a long holiday. People who live abroad return their homes for celebrating the Puja with their families.
It is celebrated by the Hindus all over India and abroad. It is the most popular festival in the state of West Bengal, India.
The Puja is celebrated for ten days, but the image is installed on the seventh day. During the last three days the Puja is celebrated with great pomp and gaiety. The images are of different designs and sizes.
Goddess Durga is referred to as the Goddess of Power (Shakti). The idol of Goddess Durga has ten hands and stands on the back of a huge lion. She fights with a demon with ten different weapons.
Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati stand on either side of Devi Durga. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and fortune. Saraswati is the goddess of learning and wisdom.
Kartik and Ganesh sit next to them upon a peacock and amouse respectively. For three days, the images of these Gods and Goddesses are worshiped along with their mother goddess Durga. The puja starts from the seventh day of the moon.
Flowers and sweets are offered to them. The priest reads the sacred slokas of “Chandi” and performs the puja.
On the last day, the day of “Vijoya Dashami” images and idols are immersed in water. They are dressed in fine clothes and decked with beautiful ornaments. During the Puja the poor are fed, alms are distributed to the people.
At various Puja pandals, the worship of Mother Durga is being performed both by the rich and the poor, with subscriptions raised for the purpose.
The Vijaya Dashami is considered to be an auspicious day. On the day people visit their relatives. The people of the trading classes begin their new year from this day. At some placed Ramlila is staged and Ravan is killed on the Dashami day.
There are various stories connected with the Vijaya Dashami. It is said that Lord Rama killed Ravana (evil demon) on this day and performed the Puja of Goddess Durga. Since then it has been celebrated every year on this day. Another story is that one King Suratha performed the Puja on this day. The third is that Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura, a demon, on this day.
The shopping season begins nearly one month before the Durga Puja festival. Huge crowd can be seen at marketplaces and shopping malls. The festive season is also a boon for online shopping websites. They come up with exclusive deals and offers to charm the customers.
At some places the Durga Puja is celebrated twice in a year, in Ashwin and in Chaitra month. The Puja is happy time for all. People put on new clothes. The joys of children know no bounds. The grown-up people also enjoy it merrily.
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