Rituals of Durga Puja

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Durga Puja Rituals & Indian Festivals

Durga Puja Rituals & Customs in India

Durga Puja is basically a festival with a series of rituals & Puja. The making of Durga idols is also governed by rituals. The elemental ritual, which is most commonly followed, is that the ingredients that are used to make the idol of goddess Durga come from the holy river Ganga. The idol of Durga is generally flanked by the idols of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh.

 
The image of Durga is framed at the centre, and the background behind the whole group is called the chaal-chitra.
 
The goddess sits atop a lion, which is her vahan. The favourite tableau is of her stabbing Mahishasur, the demon. It symbolizes the victory of goddess over the demons.
 
It is celebrated in different parts of India in different styles. But the basic aim is to propitiate Shakti, the Goddess in her aspect as power, to bestow upon man all wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge and all other potent powers.
 
Traditional and household Durga Puja festivities last till ten days. But the main Durga Puja rituals spans a period of four days. Debi-Pakkha is the name given to the fortnight from the new moon till the next full moon. This is the most propitious time for performing holy rites. The ritual of drawing the eyes on the image of the goddess is called chakkhu-daan. Symbolising the process of infusing the image with the power of vision, this is done on Mahalaya, the day of the new moon.
 
The main puja starts from Shasthi, which is the sixth day after the new moon.
 
On Saptami, the image of the goddess is infused with life through a process called Bodhon. Early in the morning, the pran of the Devi is put inside the image after it is brought from a nearby river through the medium of a banana plant. The banana plant (Kola Bou) bathed and draped in a new yellow saree, resembles a newly wed bride.
The main Saptami Puja follows Kalparambho and Mahasnan. The idol of Goddess is infused with life on this day. This process is called ‘bodhon. Early in the morning, the pran is put inside the image after it is brought from a nearby river through a decorative banana plant. The banana plant (Kola Bou) is bathed and draped in a new yellow saree resembling a newly wed bride.
 
The important puja items required during saptami are jute ropes, a pot, red thread, alta, four finger rings, four yadnyopaveet, a mirror, sandalwood, mashkolai, hibiscus flower, small noibiddo, a tekatha, one big earthen lamp, panchapallab, pancha ratna, panchashasha, panchaguri, vermillion, items for arati, items for the yadnya - sand, wood, dry khorke grass, cowdung, kusha grass, ghee, 108 bel leaves and a bowl.
 
Ashtami is universally accepted as the culminating point of the four day celebrations. It was on this day that Durga had killed Mahishasura. The ritual of Sandhipuja marks Sandhikkhan, the juncture between Ashtami and Nabami.
The day begins with a recital of Sanskrit hymns in community puja pandals as thousands of devotees offered anjali to the goddess. Kumari Puja or the worship of little girls as the mother goddess was a special part of the rituals observed in a number of traditional and household pujas. Sandhi puja is performed in the evening which is a link between mahaastmi and mahanavami.
The puja items required for this day are one dantakashto, 40 or 22 finger rings made of kusha, one nose-ring, iron, a box of vermillion, two conch shells, flowers, a garland, belpatra garland and one chandmala
 
The main attraction of Nabami is the Maha-Arati held in the evening. This is the concluding day of Durga Puja. The main Navami puja begins after the end of Sandhi Puja. The Navami Bhog is offered to the goddess. The main part of the culture & ritual on this day is the evening aarti. The puja items are more or less similar to those used during mahaastami.
 
On Dashami, the image is immersed in a river. Bijoya is a special ritual whereby peace and good relations are reaffirmed. Families exchange sweets and people embrace each other, vowing brotherhood. Bijoya continues till the next new moon, when Kali Puja is held. Vijaya Dashami is an event celebrated all over the country.
 

 

     
     
     


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