Bengal celebrates Mahanavami with community feasts

Kolkata, Oct 10 (IANS) Reflecting the festival spirit of sharing and bonding, people from all walks of life including celebrities relished community feasts at marquees and visited friends and relatives on Monday celebrating Mahanavami — the fourth day of Durga Puja in West Bengal.

Men – nattily dressed in the festive attire of kurta and pyjama with women resplendent in bright sarees – greeted friends, relatives and other acquaintances, clicked selfies, and idled away their time with banter and fun, relishing the infectious carnival spirit, here.

At the marquees and the households worshipping the goddess, people partook bhog (community feast of food items offered to the Goddess first), comprising a varied spread from ‘luchis’ (deep fried puffed bread) to ‘khichuri’, vegetable items, to fish and even mutton.

Famed actress Rituparna Sengupta was also seen taking part in the festivities with friends.

Meanwhile, the religious rituals of Mahanavami or ninth lunar day began after the end of Sandhi Puja held at the confluence of Mahaashtami (eighth lunar day) and Mahanavami on late on Sunday night.

As per Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga killed Chando and Mundo — two asuras (demons) at the confluence (Sandhi) of Mahaashtami and Mahanavami. The Goddess was worshipped as the undefeated – and offered her favourite food items.

This was followed by Maha Arati. In many of the traditional households celebrating the festival, yagna (rituals before the sacred fire) was organised before the morning puja rituals came to an end.

In the evening, thousands of curious visitors thronged the alleys of Dum Dum Park’s Tarun Dal Durga puja pandal that has a fusion theme. The decorations and art works of the main premise have used elaborate wood-curving model. The pandal is aesthetically decorated with Worli paintings’ designs and patched up with mirror works from Rajasthan. The main gate welcoming the visitors to the pandal show fine wood-curving works in shape of a ‘bnoti’, a traditional knife used for chopping vegetables.

Another puja in Kolkata’s Salt Lake region that has been immensely popular since their replication of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School in 2007 has yet again banked upon their creativity as a crowd puller. Salt Lake’s FD block has managed to create a theme out of social media usage that people nowadays, use so relentlessly.

In the age of internet where social media sites and apps keep us glued to our electronic devices, it is certainly worth to be a theme at during the Pujas. The makeshift selfie zones with classical painting meme are a hit among the city dwellers.

The five-day carnival is the biggest annual event in this part of the world when even newspapers do not come out and roads are choked with human traffic throughout the day and night.

According to Bengali tradition, Durga Puja begins with the symbolic arrival of Goddess Durga on Earth along with her sons Kartik and Ganesha and daughters Saraswati and Laxmi on Sashthi and ends on Dashami, which is celebrated across the country as Dussehra.

Traditionally, idols of Goddess Durga depict her as slaying the demon Mahishasur. She is shown astride a lion and wielding an array of weapons in her 10 arms.



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