Durga Puja is the one of the most prominent festivals in the country. It is extensively celebrated in the Northern and Eastern states of the country, especially in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Tripura. In Bengal, the Durga Puja is celebrated with great pomp and show. The grandeur of the Puja turns Kolkata into a new city during the last four days of the festival beginning from Maha-Shashti (the sixth day) till the day when the idols are immersed in the rivers, lakes, and seas on the evening of Dashami. This ritual is performed based on the belief that the Mother Goddess descends to the Earth on Shashti, the sixth day of the Pooja and returns to her abode on Dashami, the tenth day of the Pooja. The festival is also known by the names of 'Navratra' and 'Durgostab' in various parts of the country.
The festival of Durga Puja is celebrated for ten days including the last day when the idol of the Goddess is immersed in a sacred water body. The fresh and cool air of the pleasant winters, the clear skies, mildly fragrant Shiuli (a type of flower), the bountiful harvest in the fields and chanting of mantras and shlokas to worship Shakti, all collectively set up the scene for the ten-day long festival of Durga Puja. The preparations of cleaning and beautifying the homes, buying gifts for friends and relatives, and shopping for new clothes for the celebrations are all done and dealt with a good time before the festival. Mouth-watering delicacies are also prepared for the period of festivities.
However, Durga Puja festival is not merely religious in nature. With time, it has acquired the status of the biggest social event of the region as Bengalis use this time to socialize and make big plans for the four days of Durga Puja. Dances and performances are organized, while feasts and music take over the festive spirit of the city. It is also the time for the teens and youths to catch up on the latest fashion trends, designer clothes, trendy footwear, and catchy accessories. Businessmen certainly cash in on the festival offering sales, discounts, free gifts to customers, thereby further jazzing up the spirits of the people. Shopping spree and traditional Bengali sweets help to loosen up the festive side of the people. In short, Durga Puja is not only for the transition from the dull to a life of fun and gaiety but also to share this joy and happiness with friends and relatives.
Durga Puja Calendar 2013
The calendar or samay suchi for Durga Puja, along with the timings, is as follows:
9th October 2013 - Shashti
10th October 2013 - Saptami
11th October 2013 - Ashtami
12th October 2013 - Navami
13th October 2013 - Vijaya Dashmi