This Article is From Sep 30, 2017

Durga Puja 2017: Durga Puja Date, Significance, Bhog and Puja Celebrations

Durga Puja festival marks the battle of Goddess Durga with the powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura. This year Durga Puja 2017 festivities have already begun in full swing and would end on 30th September.

Durga Puja 2017: Durga Puja Date, Significance, Bhog and Puja Celebrations

Durga Puja celebrations have been a significant affair for Bengal

India is often called the land of festivals and we can't agree more. There is a reason to celebrate every fortnight. While we just bid goodbye to our beloved Lord Ganesh after 10 days of festivities,in under a week the nation will be gearing up to welcome Goddess Durga with equal enthusiasm for Durga Puja and Navratri. This year Durga Pooja festivities has already begun in full swing and would go on till 30th September( Vijaya Dashmi). In Bengal and parts of Orissa, Tripura and Assam, Dussehra celebrations are not quite tied to the epic battle of the Ramayana unlike the other parts of the country, rather they celebrate the victory of Goddess Durga over buffalo king Mahishasura.

For Bengalis, Durga Puja is more than just a festival, it wouldnt be completely wrong to call it a five-day long carnival, preparation for which begins months in advance - from setting up pandals, preparing for various cultural activities like poetry recitation, singing, dancing, painting competitions to the simple joy of purchasing new clothes. Since centuries, Durga Puja celebrations have been a significant affair for Bengal, however the community gatherings and para (neighbourhood) preparation dates back to 17th- 18th century A.D, when several zamindars and aristocrats would hold Lavish pujas bringing together the entire locality under one roof. For instance the Aatchala Puja in Kolkata, which was started by renowned zamindar Lakshmikanta Majumder in the year 1610 or the Shobha Bazar Choto Rajbari at 33 Raja Nabakrishna Road in Kolkata, which was initiated in the year 1757. Even outside of Bengal, the trend of hosting lavish pujas with artful Goddess Durga idol and extravagant pandals has become popular, but Kolkata Durga Puja wins the popular votes across the country, in terms of hosting the best pujas. 

durga puja

For Bengalis, Durga Puja celebrations are a five-day long carnival

Mythological Significance of Durga Puja

Durga Puja festival marks the battle of Goddess Durga with the powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious over the evil. The demon king Mahishasura, performed severe austerities and prayers for years to seek Lord Brahma's boon of immortality. Pleased by his devotion, Lord Brahma did confer upon him many boons, but the boon of immortality; instead, Brahma gave him a boon saying that his death would happen only at the hands of a woman. On hearing the boon, Mahishasura was thrilled and considered him immortal, thinking which woman would ever match up to his strength and take his life.

With this belief, he waged a war against the Devas, with his army of asuras. In the battle, the Devas were defeated and so they approached the trinity of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu to seek help. The three great gods combined their divine energies and created a woman and thus gave rise to Goddess Durga, the embodiment of Shakti herself. Durga led a battle against Mahishasura and killed him, thus fulfilling the prophecy that he would die at the hands of a woman.

durga puja

Durga Puja festival marks the battle of Goddess Durga with the powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura

The festival marks the victory of Good over Evil, but it also is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the motherly power giving rise to all life and creation

Durga Puja 2017 Date and Time

Beautifully decorated clay idols of Goddess Durga, Saraswati, Laxmi, Kartik and Ganesh are unveiled to the devotees ad spectators on the 5th(Panchami) or 6th day(Shashti). On the 5th day, many pandals arrange 'Ananda Mela' , which is a tradition of local women sharing their culinary specialities the evening before the puja begins. From delicious chops, cutlets, bhajas(fritters) to sweets and other snacks, if you call yourself a true foodie, make sure you manage to visit one of the Anand Mela celebrations.

On the Pooja days, devotees wake up early in the morning, and observe a fast until the Durga Anjali that takes place early in the morning, after which they break their fasts with fruits and sweets. Soon after the cultural activities and programs kickstarts, and so does the joy of pandal hopping. With so many beautiful pandals lined up across the city, several families try to make it a point to visit as many pandals in a day as possible.

In the afternoon, the ritualistic bhog, comprising delicious khichdi, papad, mixed vegetable, tomato chutney, begun bhaja (eggplant fritters) is served, and of course the generous heaping of payesh and roshogolla. On the day of Ashtami, which is often considered to be the most important day of the pooja, the bhog also has special additions most common being rice in place of khichdi, chana dal, a curry of paneer, mixed vegetables, begun bhaja, tomato chutney, papad, rajbhog and payesh, which is sure to have you happily stuffed through the day.

But the food fest doesn't end here. The pandals are often lined with many food stalls, selling the best Kathi Rolls, kebabs, fried fish, biryani, noodles, cutlets, chops and various other savoury and sweet snacks. The round of gorging on delicious food ends only on the evening of Vijay Dashami with a good serving of Mutton Biryani or some Mutton Kosha and loochi (a close cousin of poori).

Here is a detailed calendar of Durga Puja date and day this year

Durga Puja Calendar
Mahalaya 2017Tuesday19-Sep-17
Maha Panchami 2017Monday25-Sep-17
Maha Shasthi 2017Tuesday26 September 2017
Maha Saptami 2017Wednesday27 September 2017
Maha Ashtami 2017Thursday28 September 2017
Maha Navami 2017Friday29 September 2017
Vijaya Dashami 2017Saturday30 September 2017

Here's Wishing you all a very Happy Durga Puja 2017