India is the country of festivals and celebrations. All praises to people of different religions, ethnicity and cultures residing here. They bring with them distinguish mannerism and thought processes of perceiving everything from a different angle. And the best part is everyone condoning to each other’s belief system. People learn and grow distinct aspects of life rooting from different perspectives.
Navratri and Durga puja are the parts of the similar belief system which helps in making society mature. At a time when atrocities on women are rampant, creating a female-friendly environment is the demand of the time. This way the 9 days festival of Navratri came into being. It signifies that women deserve respect in every form. It’s basically the celebration of women as a goddess. Both Durga puja (in West Bengal) and Navratri (Across India) entail the 9 forms of goddess Durga from creator to destroyer.
The biggest festival in West Bengal
When the festival of Navratri arrives it’s a euphoric moment for all the Bengalis. They celebrate it with all their hearts, zeal and enthusiasm. It’s also called as Mahalaya. Their passion for worshipping the goddess transcends everything. Both men and women invest their time and energy in keeping the mighty form happy.
The preparations for the extravagant celebration start months ago. Artists prepare various forms of effigies of the goddess with sand, wood, stones and colours. They give several shapes to the effigy putting their all faith into it. The process is a wonderful experience to see. After the completion of the statue, it’s adorned with beautiful ornaments and clothes. Subsequently, make-up is done on Devi. And this is how she comes in her full force for the folks to bow down to her. The mighty stature with the glimpse of shine in her eyes is inexplicable.
In the reverence, several pandals are set-up at a small distance. Temples and homes along with streets are eloquently decorated. It’s celebrated till ten days. Prayers and mantras are chanted during the time with pious smoke and lanterns. People dance on bhajans and music. They play traditional instruments to please the mother goddess. From kids to elders, everyone is imbued. After the puja, people offer sweets and food to the deity and then distribute among others as Prasad (dainty)
Primarily on the last day, the effigy of the deity is immersed in the holy waters of rivers, ponds and the sea. People take processions with all bands and musical instruments where a huge crowd gathers and rejoice.
The festival occurs before the Dussehra festival, where the effigy of Ravana is burnt. Navratri. The festival is marked four times in a year out of which two times it’s called hidden navratras. The first one marks the new year for Hindus and the other marks the starting of Dussehra and Diwali where people clean their homes and shops. In the northern part of India, people play Dandiya and Garba at the night wearing traditional dresses.