Durga Puja, the most happening festival of the Bengalis can be sensed with its spurt of fanfare on all the four days of the Durga Puja festival. This autumnal festival, popularly known as Sharodotsav, recalls the power of female Shakti symbolized by the Goddess Durga who slays asura to re-establish peace and sacredness on earth again.
However, it means more to a Bengali than just the religious aspect.
1. The “Pratima” –Idol of Durga Maa
Every year you get a new idol but the glow in her eyes is as enthralling as always. She emits energy and yes, you can feel it.
2. Getting all decked up for going at the Pandal.
Men and women, boys and girls, everyone is equally excited to get into their new clothes and flaunt them, even during the hot afternoons. Be it the traditional dhoti kurta or saree or any modern clothes, it’s all being in the “puja mode”. You decide on going for the Alta or a big red bindi.
3. The familiar sound of Dhak, Shank, Dhunuchi nachh and the mild fragrance of Shiuli
You wait for the bhog to start with offering to Maa so that you can listen to the Dhak. This always gives a familiar tug to every Bengali’s heart.
4. We wait for the Khichudi
It may sound odd to others, but there is nothing is comparison to Bhoger Khichudi and Tomator chutney and Roshogulla. We forget our staple ‘Maach Bhaat’ and dig into the same menu for the next 3 days. Puja is incomplete without the food.
5. Inviting your non-bengali friends to the Puja
You are never sure that they will love it the way you do, but nevertheless, nothing can stop you from creating the hype around it.
6. Standing in long queues or waiting on long tables.
The bhog served on the plate made of leaves brings everyone to one level. But you need to earn your Prasad by waiting for it.
7. Serving the bhog
Serving the hungry Bengalis can be a task in itself, but it is one task you will do happily to get the gratification!
8. The cultural programs at night
Art and culture is very important to Bengalis. These shows have been prepared with much effort and the artists travel long distances to come and entertain you. Song and dances, rock shows and plays, everything at the same place.
9. Aunties bonding
The Gup-shup of the entire year will be shared in these 3-4 days. Who said what, which girl/boy is now eligible to get married and yes, the typical “kitna bada hogaya hai tum!”
10. Sindur Khela on Bijoy Dashami!
Married women, dressed in traditional white and red saree, take part in the Sindur Khela whereby they offer ‘Baran'(ritual farewell) to the Goddess with pradip, vermilion, betel leaf and sweets .
11. Bolo Durga Maa ki, Jai!
This will be said loudly randomly, any time, and you get the sudden rush of liveliness when it is said. It just makes sense to be there and experience it.
Happy Durga Puja, everyone! Menwhile, if you are looking forward to other things in the Durga Puja, let me know in the comments section below!