Durga Puja 2023, a significant Hindu festival, is celebrated with great enthusiasm, mainly in West Bengal, Kolkata, Bihar, Tripura, Assam, and Odisha during the Navaratri days. This year, it commences on October 20, 2023, and concludes on October 24, 2023.
The festival spans several days with specific rituals and celebrations:
Maha Panchami (Preparation Day)
Starts on October 19, 2023, at 01:12 AM
Ends on October 20, 2023, at 12:31 AM
Maha Shashti (Bondhon)
Starts on October 20, 2023, at 12:31 AM
Ends on October 20, 2023, at 11:24 PM
Maha Saptami (Anjali)
Ends on October 21, 2023, at 09:53 PM
Maha Ashtami (Kumari Puja)
Starts on October 21, 2023, at 09:53 PM
Ends on October 22, 2023, at 07:58 PM
Maha Navami (Dhunuchi Dance and Sandhi Puja)
Starts on October 22, 2023, at 07:58 PM
Ends on October 23, 2023, at 05:44 PM
Vijaya Dashami (Sindur Khela, Visarjan, and Bijoya)
Starts on October 23, 2023, at 05:44 PM
Ends on October 24, 2023, at 03:14 PM
Durga Puja is celebrated with various rituals and customs, particularly among the Bengali community:
People visit beautifully decorated pandals, each with a unique theme.
The festival begins with the Praan Pratishtha of the idol, accompanied by Vedic Mantras.
A special ritual involves taking a banana plant to the river, giving it a ceremonial bath, and draping it in a saree, symbolizing the wife of Lord Ganesha.
The Dhunichi Dance is a famous tradition where participants dance to the rhythmic beats of Dhak drums while carrying earthen pots filled with burning coconut shells.
Kumari Puja is performed, during which small girls are worshipped.
Sindoor Khela, where married women visit pandals, offer vermillion and sweets to Goddess Durga, and apply vermillion to each other.
The festival culminates with the immersion of the idol in a nearby river or sea during Visarjan, marked by a grand procession with devotees singing and dancing.
Durga Puja is a unifying celebration that allows people to worship Goddess Durga in various ways and fosters a sense of community, enthusiasm, and devotion among its participants.