Durga Puja is the biggest festival in the West Bengal region of India. In North India, the Durga Pujan date coincides with another popular Hindu festival, Dussehra.
Maa Durga is a mythological deity that was created by Tridev – Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (Shiva) – to destroy the most feared demon, Mahishasura.
Legends of Durga Puja
Lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe, had a true devotee, Mahishasura. With his extreme devotion towards Brahma Dev, Mahishasura ended up getting the Vardaan (Brahma’s blessing) of not being killed by any man. Despite it was the blessings of Lord Brahma that made Mahishasura indestructible, he started attacking all the three worlds created by Brahma. All gods got scared that Mahishasura would dethrone them. So, they went to seek the help of Tridev. Lord Vishnu created a female Goddess Durga and blessed her with all his powers. But those powers were not enough to kill the Mahishasura. Hence, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva too blessed Durga with their powers. Devi Durga, carrying the powers of all the three Gods, set out on the journey to kill Mahishasura. Scared that the deity was strong enough to kill him, Mahishasura kept changing forms for 15 days. Goddess Durga, too, changed into 9 forms during the war. On the last day of the war, the 15th day, Goddess Durga found Mahishasura in the form of a buffalo and killed him, ending his reign of terror. Another legend of Devi Durga belongs to Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Rama conducted a special Durga Puja one day before his war with Ravana. He offered the Goddess 108 Lotuses as a tribute of respect before going into meditation. Once he offered his prayers to the Goddess and opened his eyes, he found that one Lotus was missing. He knew that the Goddess loved 108 Lotuses. So, as a token of pure respect, he decided to cut his eye and offer it to the Goddess. She was so pleased that she blessed Lord Rama with victory against Ravana.
Durga Puja Celebrations
Durga Puja is a 9-day-long fest. People bring home idols of Devi Durga for Durga staphna. That idol is kept in the house for all 9 days. The entire 9-day duration is divided into 3 phases in West Bengal. People worship Goddess Durga on the first three days of the fest. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped for the next 3 days. And Goddess Saraswati is worshipped for the final three days. On the last day, the idols of Maa Durga are decorated with new colorful clothes and beautiful fresh flower garlands. People carry the idols from their homes to rivers (mostly River Ganga) to submerge the idol in water. It is believed that when Goddess Durga is kept in the house for 9 days and worshiped, she fights against all the problems that a person is facing. When the idol of Durga is submerged in water, evil, bad luck, and sickness is submerged alongside the idol too. In the evening, women play Sindoor. It’s a very popular practice in Bengal where married women apply vermilion to each other. In many parts of North India, people worship small girls and offer them sweets and gifts to please Goddess Durga.
Significance of Durga Puja
It is believed that the deity takes away all the problems from the life of people who worship her for 9 days.
Durga Puja 2021 Date(s)
13th October 2021
Ashtami Tithi – Wednesday, 13th October 2021
Ashtami Tithi Begins – 21:47 on (12th October 2021)
Ashtami Tithi Ends – 20:07 on (13th October 2021)