Navratri 2023: When is Durga Puja? Know the date, history and importance of Hindu festivals

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Durga Puja

According to Hindu mythology, Durga represents the divine power or Shakti, and believers hold that she assumes various forms to defeat evil forces in different eras. Durga Puja commemorates this triumph over evil, with devotees honoring the nine incarnations of Durga throughout the nine-day festival of Navratri. These nine avatars are Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri, and Siddhidatri.

Shardiya Navratri is a celebration of the triumph of virtue over malevolence, symbolizing the belief within the Hindu community that it was on this day when Durga defeated the demon king Mahishasura by harnessing the powers of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Additionally, it is a common belief that Maa Durga descends from Devlok to Earth during Navratri, relieving her devotees of their troubles. As a gesture of devotion and to seek Durga’s blessings, people observe fasting for all nine days or in pairs during the first two or last two days of the Navratri festival.

 

Durga Puja Date:

In the Bengali calendar, Durga Puja 2023 falls in the month of Karthik, coinciding with October in the Gregorian calendar. This joyous festival spans five consecutive days, commencing on October 20 and culminating on October 24. 

 

History & Importance 

In Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma had bestowed upon the demon Mahishasura an invincible boon, rendering him impervious to harm from any man or god. Leveraging this newfound power, Mahishasura launched a relentless assault on the gods, subsequently forcing them out of their celestial abode. In the face of this dire predicament, the gods came together in prayer and worship, seeking the divine presence of Adi Shakti. Their collective devotion and the radiant energy that emanated from them during this puja culminated in the manifestation of Goddess Durga, ready to confront the formidable demon king.

The epic confrontation between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura extended over a period of ten days. It culminated on the tenth day, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil, and is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami. On this auspicious occasion, Goddess Durga vanquished the demon king, bringing an end to his malevolent reign. 

The concluding day of Navratri witnesses the immersion of Goddess Durga’s idol in the sacred waters of the river Ganges, a ritual known as Durga Visarjan. Prior to this emotional farewell, devout worshippers partake in vibrant processions marked by the rhythmic beating of drums, joyous singing, and exuberant dancing.  

 

Celebrations:

Celebrating with Delicious Food and Togetherness
  • Festivals often revolve around the joy of culinary delights. During Durga Puja, people prepare delectable dishes, first offering them to the Goddess and then sharing these feasts with friends and family.
  • Much like the Maharashtrian festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja is a unifying celebration that transcends social boundaries, bringing people from diverse backgrounds together.
Artistic Pandals and Culinary Treasures
  • Durga Puja is renowned for its artistically adorned pandals, which draw in visitors from far and wide.
  • Prasad, offerings to the Goddess, usually take the form of a delightful khichdi, a symbol of sanctity.
  • Throughout the festival, various stalls are set up, presenting an assortment of culinary treasures from different regions. Expect to savor dishes such as chops, puchka, kathi rolls, mishti, mishti pulao, and jalebi, each a unique gastronomic delight.
A Wider Celebration Beyond Bengal
  • While Durga Puja holds immense significance within the Bengali community, its influence extends well beyond the borders of West Bengal.
  • States like Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Bihar, and Jharkhand join in the jubilation, initiating their preparations on Mahalaya to warmly welcome the Goddess into their homes and hearts.
Triumph and Culmination in Vijaya Dashami and Dussehra
  • Vijaya Dashami or Dussehra achieves the grand finale of Durga Puja, marking the conclusion of the nine-day-long Navratri festivities and symbolizing the victory of good over evil.

  • Vijaya Dashami commemorates Durga’s triumphant battle against the demon king Mahishasura, underscoring the eternal theme of righteousness prevailing over malevolence.
  • Simultaneously, Dussehra celebrates the epic victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana, reiterating the triumph of virtue over vice and the victory of light over darkness.