3 mind-blowing facts about Durga Puja, the most vibrant festival in Bengal

Durga Puja is an extravagant celebration of the divine feminine force.

It’s undoubtedly the most vibrant festival in Bengal. Also, it’s celebrated in several other parts of the world.

Read ahead!

Bengalis wait all year round for October, as it’s the month of their most significant festival – Durga Puja. The ten-day gala celebration is primarily about the victory of Goddess Durga (who is an embodiment of love, courage, and the feminine force) over the evil Mahishasura. But it’s not a mere religious festival, but a social phenomenon where people of all ages, castes, and religions take part in the exhilaration together.

From the themed pandals to the decorative lighting exhibitions, from the delights of family time to the excitement of pandal hopping with friends, from the lip-smacking Bhog on Ashtami to the magnificent “Sindur Khela” on Dashami, and more – Durga Puja offers a refreshing escape from all the worries of regular monotonous life.

In this article, we’ll discuss some lesser-known facts about the Puja that you didn’t know.

It’s not the original Puja

The festival that Bengalis celebrate now in October is not the original Durga Puja. It’s referred to as the “Akalbodhan” in Hindu mythology. Legend has it that Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga before going for his battle with Ravana.

The original Puja is known as the Basanti Puja, taking place in March.

Durga Puja has no connection with Mahalaya

Mahalaya acts as the notification of Durga Puja for Bengalis. The festive aura kickstarts with Mahalaya and all Bengalis have a tradition of waking up at 4 am on that day, only to listen to the two-hour program ‘Mahishasuramardini’ (a tale of Goddess Durga destroying the evil force of Mahishasura) on All India Radio.

However, what most people are unaware of, is that Durga Puja has no connection with Mahalaya at all.

The celebration wasn’t started in Kolkata

Kolkata is known as the hub of Durga Puja in Bengal. Also, every non-Bengali is suggested to visit Kolkata during the Puja, to experience the magnificent grandeur all around.

However, the celebration wasn’t started in Kolkata. As per records, it was started by the landlords of Malda and Dinajpur in the late 1500s. The tradition of Sarbojanin Puja (Community Celebration of Durga Puja) was started in the late 18th century when 12 friends in Guptipara (of Hooghly District, West Bengal) collected contributions from the locals for the Puja. In Kolkata, the first recorded Puja was organized in 1909, by the Bhowanipore Sanatan Dharmotsahini Sabha.

Kolkata’s Durga Puja has been inscribed on the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”, by UNESCO.

Sayan Paul

Sayan is an art lover with a passion for life and food. Films and music are his two biggest companions and he learns and grows with every film he watches and every song he listens to. He is whom we turn to for all things related to entertainment and films.
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