Durga Puja 2021 also known as Durgotsava, is an annual festival that honors the Hindu goddess Durga and pays homage to her. Assam, Odisha, Tripura, Bangladesh, and the Mithilanchal regions of Bihar and Nepal are particularly popular and traditionally celebrate this festival. There is a ten-day festival, the last five of which are significant, celebrated in the Hindu calendar month Ashwin, which corresponds to September to October on the Gregorian calendar. It is performed both at home and in public, with a temporary stage and structural decorations (known as pandals). There are also scripture recitations, art performances, celebratory processions, gifts, visitations of family, and feasting events during the festival. In the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, the Durga puja is an important festival.
In this festival, Goddess Durga commemorates her victory over Mahishasura, an asura that can assume different forms. The goddess, as the force of life and creation, represents the triumph of good over evil in this festival. Ram Lila dance-dramas are performed during this festival to celebrate the victory of Rama over Ravana. Effigies of Ravana are also set ablaze.
There are many deities worshipped during Durga puja, including Durga (the goddess of abundance and prosperity), Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge and music), Ganesha (the god of good beginnings), and Kartikeya (the god of war). It is believed that the Durga puja commemorates the visit of Durga and her children to her natal home in Bengali and Odia traditions. Mahalaya precedes Durga’s festival, which is believed to mark the beginning of her journey home. At the beginning of the celebrations (Shasthi), the goddess is welcomed by rituals. As the festival concludes on the tenth day (Vijaya Dashami), devotees carry the clay sculptured idols in procession to rivers and other water bodies and immerse them in symbolic return to the Divine and Shiva’s marriage home in Kailash. In the festival celebration and rituals observed, there are regional and community differences.
Despite its unclear origins, the Durga puja is an old Hindu tradition. Historical records indicate that the royal family sponsors major Durga puja celebrations since the 16th century, as documented in manuscripts from the 14th century. Assam, Bengal, and Odisha all gained prominence during the British Raj for the Durga puja 2021. In today’s world, Durga puja is celebrated everywhere as a cultural and social event as well as a religious one.
Innumerable people celebrate Durga puja in their own way while adhering to tradition in the centuries that have passed.
Clay sculpture idols are created using clay It is a ceremonial process that begins with the gathering of clay and ends with ornamentation in the puja. Sculpture idols are made months before the festival occurs, during summer, though the festival is observed after the monsoon harvest. In the process of casting the sculpture idols, materials such as bamboo frames, in which the idols are cast, are prayed to as well as Ganesha and the perceived divinity.
To build the foundation, various types of clay are used, including alluvial soil. The choice here is based on a tradition wherein Durga is believed to be omnipresent, perceived as the energy of creation and the material of the universe. In certain traditions in Kolkata, soil samples are included in the clay mixture for Durga that originate from areas of “forbidden territory” (social outcast areas like brothels).
Using straw and clay as a base, the cast is shaped into hay and bamboo molds. A fine final shape is created by layering, cleaning, painting, and polishing. Adding a layer of jute to the top also prevents the statue from cracking as time goes. In the statues, the heads are typically made separately, while the limbs are mostly made from bundled straws. Around August, the artisans begin painting the sculpture-idols which are later dressed in clothing, bejeweled, and displayed at puja altars.
Greetings and best wishes for Durga Puja 2021: The Festival of Durga Puja is upon us. As the year winds down, Durga Puja ushers in the festive vibes as the Bengali, Odia, and Assamese communities grow around the globe.
Navratri celebrations generally coincide with Durga Puja, which highlights Goddess Durga’s nine forms in her nine manifestations. Mahishasura was defeated by the goddess on this day. In her idol, a lion is depicted slaying a demon who is depicted at her feet, which illustrates the reason for her idol slaying the demon.
Various styles of Durga Puja are observed across India. Nevertheless, the basic purpose of this celebration is to bless man with wealth, prosperity, knowledge (both sacred and secular), and all other potent powers from Shakti, the Goddess in Her aspect as Power. The key to all propitiation, worship, and linking oneself with the Goddess is whatever request anyone may put before Her. Nothing else matters.