Why is Durga Puja so special to Bengalis?

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If you are from West Bengal, You already know how much people love Durga Puja. It’s nothing less than carnival, people from different background enjoy it equally. A Bengali’s eyes are filled with Joy on hearing about Durga Puja. This Festival is extremely close to people here. That happiness on seeing the “murtikars” making Maa Durga’s statue with ten hands holding a weapon in each to fight the evil is like nothing else.

So, what makes it so special ?

1) A connection with Childhood :

 

Drawing competitions, the dance performances, Antakshri, and of course new clothes every year, these are the few things every Bengali is associated with since their childhood, and it forever reminds them of the 5 days that they would enjoy the most as kids.

2) FOODS! FOODS! FOODS!

 


It’s no secret that Bengalis are foodies and they are proud of it, Durga Puja is a prime example of this. There’s no better time for anyone outside to try Bengali’s cuisine than this. You’ll find a wide array of it everywhere -on the streets, at the pandals, and specially in Bengali restaurants.

3) The Sheer Opulence :

 

source-india.com
source-india.com

It astonishes me to think that Durga Pandal is built EVERY YEAR with such devotion and hard work for just 10 days celebration. Since every Pandal is differently themed people make it a point to visit as many as they can. All the Pandals are thing of beauty, and the story behind it, how Maa Durga defeated Mahishasur is very interesting and a must read.

 

4) Cultural Identity :

Prime Reason for Celebrating any festival is invoking a sense of cultural identity. People find time to meet the ones they have been wanting to meet for months. Then they bond with each other over dancing .

Dancing is the most entertaining part. They perform “Dhunuchi” dance that is performed to the “Dhak’s” beats (It is a type of dholak that you see in the background). The performer holds clay incense burners (which is pretty hot) with “dhuno” on their palms or even balance it on their heads. You will want to join it just looking at it!

5) Sindoor Khela

source-nagpurtoday.in
source-nagpurtoday.in

This is a ceremony on the day of Dashmi or the Tenth day known as “Sindoor Khela”. Before Maa Durga leaves, you must anoint her with Sindoor. It is a custom where all the Bengali women apply Sindoor to the idols of Goddesses and then to each other. They usually wear white and red for the occasion.

6) Visrajan- The final Day


All must go back to where it came from. Here Idols are immersed in water, one of the most popular immersion point is Babughat ( located near Eden Garden) though you can catch the action from any ghat, and yet it looks equally amazing ( However, i do worry about the water pollution here, but it looks amazing ).

To conclude i would like to quote someone:

source-wikimedia.org
source-wikimedia.org

“You can take the craze of Diwali in Delhi, Christmas in London, Summer carnival in Rio, Valentine’s Day in Paris and then add it to the month long madness of Olympic Games or the world cup and cram all that in a span of 5 days and you still wouldn’t know what you are missing if you haven’t been in Kolkata during the Durga pujo”

-Vir Sanghvi


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