Worship of divine deities is a common tradition followed since ages in India and other countries. Offering prayers to God is no less than a celebration of any major festival. In fact the majority of festivals in India are directly connected to some or the other festivals.
Especially if we talk about Hindu religion there are millions of Gods worshipped throughout the country and abroad by almost every individual. Every God on the other hand is related to some or the other festival. There are Gods like Krishna, Rama, Shiva, Parvati, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Hanuman, Durga and more.
Ganesha, Hanuman, Durga and more. Worship of every God is special in its own way and gives peace to mind and heart. Worship of Devi Durga or Durga pooja is one of the major sacred ceremonies which is performed by every individual and in every Hindu family. The rituals involved are extremely important, heavy and very unique. There are a lot of attractions that steal away the attention of beholders.
Durga is the goddess of strength, power, love, compassion, wisdom, success and positivity. Her worship brings an abundance of positive vibes with eternal blessings to the devotee. Durga pooja or commonly known as Navrati is the popular Hindu festival celebrated throughout the globe with great passion. The festival is mostly celebrated in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Tripura, Assam and the country Bangladesh. Durga pooja or Durgotsava is a ten days festival which falls during the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu calendar. It is the festival when nine forms of Devi Durga are worshipped by people, devotees, families and priests during nine days of celebration. Tenth day is the Vijayadashami which is popular as Dussehra.
Importance of Durga pooja
Devi Durga is the prominent goddess who blesses her devotees with immense strength and provides protection from evil. Durga pooja is celebrated as the occasion of victory over evil as Devi Durga conquered the demon Mahishasura.
Once there was this demon Mahishasura who became excessively powerful and was unable to be killed by any male Gods. So everyone decided to contribute their powers and create one female super power to kill Mahishasura. Devi Durga is that female Shakti (power) who killed Mahishasura and got the universe rid of the vicious devil.
Just after that Devi Durga was worshipped by all the Gods to make her happy and bring her back to peace after such fierceful act.
From that time onwards, Devi Durga is worshipped every year by humans on earth and the prayers are offered to her in a very unique and attractive way. She represented power, strength, fearlessness and success in the form of victory over demon Mahishasura. So, Durga pooja fetches its importance from the fact that in order to get Devi Durga's blessings prayers should be offered to Durga and celebrated as a festival.
So, the trend of celebrating Durga pooja as Durgotsava for ten days began. The nine forms of Durga namely Shailaputri, Chandraghanta, Mahagauri, Kushmanda, Kalaratri, Skandamata, Katyayani, Siddhidatri and Brahmacharini are the Navdurga or the nine forms of Durga.
Rituals performed in Durga pooja
The celebration of Durga pooja is the amalgam of numerous events, activities and sacred rituals. Traditionally people used to decorate the house temple and do routine worship of Durga by offering samagris to hawan, offering bhog, aarti and recitation of Devi Saptashati path daily. During Navratris many families also organise a program of jagran when people dance and sing sacred songs and enjoy the night with music.
As a part of celebration there are a number of pandals set up in different themes at different corners of the city or town. These pandals are beautifully decorated with different materials and statues of Durga, Ganesha, Riddhi and Siddhi (wives of Lord Ganesha), Kartikey and demon Mahishasura lying in the feet of Devi Durga. A royal aarti ceremony is conducted along with dhuni and hawan. The entire conglomeration imparts an appealing effect on the people which fills the air with flavor of spirituality all around the place.
Some of the major attractions of the celebration are:
- There are many cultural programs organized which include cultural dance by artists, Raas-Leela, Ram-Leela and other competitions at local level.
- Fairs are organised at many places where food, games, clothes, rides for children and stalls of other products are there for the entertainment of people visiting with families and children.
- Many localities organize cultural events for children and society members. This includes dance, singing, mimicry and other activities by people of society and various competitions and games.
- Garba dance is also a popular dance program especially in the state of Gujarat which is enjoyed by people on the last day or Dussehra.