Kali Puja is an auspicious Hindu festival dedicated to goddess Kali. Goddess Kali is the symbol of dark side of life and epitomizes strength. Kali Puja day falls on the new moon day of Ashwin in the month of October or November. According to a popular legend, goddess Durga and her assistants were fighting demon Raktabija and tried every way possible to kill the demon. The demon instead of getting killed or hurt was becoming strong as every drop of blood split from him was producing a clone of his. Thus, very soon the battlefield became filled with clones of Raktabija that were attacking goddess Durga and her assistants. In this hour of need, goddess Durga called Kali. Kali killed the demon, Raktabija by sucking his blood and putting all his clones in her gaping mouth. It is said that Kali became so much engaged in killing that she went on to kill everything at sight. To stop this killing spree, Lord Shiva threw himself on her feet. The act of disrespecting her husband shocked her so much that out popped her tongue in repentance. It is this image of Kali that is seen in most of the temples and pandals. Kali Puja is also celebrated on other new moon days, prominent of these occasions being Ratanti Kali Puja and Phalaharini Kali Puja. Read further to know briefly about these two occasions.
Two Days Kali Puja Celebrations
Ratanti Kali Puja
Ratanti Kali Puja is celebrated on the new moon day of the Hindu month of Margashirsha. On this auspicious day, the goddess Kali is evoked with much pomp and show. The devotees arrange picnic on the temple courtyard of the goddess Kali. The next day, the puja committee offers meals to poor. A good number of devotees gather near the temple courtyard on this occasion. The offerings to the goddess include children's hair, goats, sheep, pigeon, blood in gold pots, eye made of gold and silver, and clothes. People seek blessings for their desires. Barren women come to the temple and bathe in nearby pond. They hang a piece of stone or brick on the bat tree adjacent to the temple and pray the goddess for children. Women who are blessed with offspring due to blessing of goddess Kali, visit temple and perform Mansik Puja. Apart from barren women, women whose children do not survive long, also visit the temple for long living offspring.
Phalaharini Kali Puja
Phalaharini Kali Puja is a religious occasion dedicated to goddess Kali and is observed on the new moon night of Jyeshtha in the Bengal and Hindu calendar. On this day, special puja rituals are performed in Bengal and in other Eastern parts of the country. In the famous Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Phalaharini Kali Puja begins at 9.00 pm and continues well past 1.00 am. The offerings to the goddess at the temple include goats, vegetables, sugar cane and chalkumra, a kind of pumpkin.