One of the biggest festivals for Hindus all over Asia, Durga puja celebrates the worship of goddess Durga and is spread over a period of ten days. The dates which are decided according to the traditional Hindu calendar mark the Fortnight of the goddess.
Even though it is celebrated all over India with much fervor and devotion the major states where Durga puja is most popular are West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Tripura and Jharkhand, in fact in the state of West Bengal where a majority of people are Bengali Hindus, it is the biggest festival and is marked by a five-day annual holiday. It is the most significant cultural and traditional event for the Bengalis.
Historically records state that the Rajashahi dynasty were amongst the first to do Durga puja in their courts, also in the early 18th century, various landlords and aristocrats all over Bengal start initiating such Durga puja ceremonies.
In the modern Times various ways of giving people Durga puja wishes have become popular with Durga puja cards, idols of Maa Durga and sweets being most popular.
Durga Puja Cards
Even though now-a-days E-cards are becoming more and more popular as they offer a much cheaper and cost effective way of greeting and wishing your loved ones but it’s still the handmade ones which are considered more traditional and thus are sent to the closest relatives of the family, these cards usually consist of the images of Maa Durga in all her glory and contain a simple message wishing ‘Happy Durga Puja’ to the receiver.Bengali Durga Puja
The Durga puja festival being the biggest festival for the people of Bengal, it usually marks the time which Bengalis celebrate with new clothes and other gifts, families go out in the evenings to see the elaborate structures or pandals as they usually are places where life sized idols of Maa Durga are kept.
For the people of Bengal this time is not only one for religious activities but also is a time for a lot of pomp and show and loads of celebrations and people regardless of their religious beliefs participate wholeheartedly in the celebrations.
In cities like Kolkata, Siliguri etc traffic comes to a standstill and thousands of people can be seen pandal hopping with every pandal competing for their attention and praise. All over the city is adorned with lights and people from different parts of the country visit Kolkata to celebrate Durga Puja, and the state looks like the setting for a huge carnival.
Not only is this festival important for people in India but in countries like Nepal (which is chiefly a Hindu state), United States, Europe and Australia also, it is celebrated with much fervor.
Bangladesh which has a majority of Bengali Hindus as well also has a Five day National holiday and celebrations are seen countrywide with thousands of pandals and mandapas being set up in different villages, towns and cities. The President even holds a national reception for the Hindu community.
Durga Puja 2015 will be celebrated from 20th October.