Ranchi, Jharkhand 01 October 2014 :: Durga Puja – the ceremonial worship of the mother goddess, is one of the most important festivals of India. Apart from being a religious festival for the Hindus, it is also an occasion for reunion and rejuvenation, and a celebration of traditional culture and customs. While the rituals entails ten days of fast, feast and worship, the last four days – Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami – are celebrated with much gaiety and grandeur in India and abroad, especially in Bengal, where the ten-armed goddess riding the lion is worshipped with great passion and devotion.
Durga Puja is celebrated every year in the Hindu month of Ashwin (September-October) and commemorates Lord Rama’s invocation of the goddess before going to war with the demon king Ravana. This autumnal ritual was different from the conventional Durga Puja, which is usually celebrated in the springtime. So, this Puja is also known as ‘akal-bodhan’ or out-of-season (‘akal’) worship (‘bodhan’). Thus goes the story of Lord Rama, who first worshipped the ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ or the slayer of the buffalo-demon, by offering 108 blue lotuses and lighting 108 lamps, at this time of the year.
The dates of Durga Puja celebrations are set according to the traditional Hindu calendar and the fortnight corresponding to the festival is called Devi Paksha, “Fortnight of the Goddess”). Devi Paksha is preceded by Mahalaya, the last day of the previous fortnight Pitri Paksha, “Fortnight of the Forefathers”), and is ended on Kojagori Lokkhi Puja (“Worship of Goddess Lakshmi on Kojagori Full Moon Night”).
Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomises the victory of Good over Evil.
Durga Puja is widely celebrated in the Indian states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Odisha, Tripura and West Bengal,