The word ‘Durga Puja’ itself describes the reason behind the celebration of the festival, since people following Hinduism pay their homage to Goddess Durga during this auspicious occasion. It is one of the foremost Hindu festivals and is celebrated across India with great zeal. As per the Hindu calendar, the festival begins from the second day of Kartika month and ends on the seventh day. The festival is widely celebrated across the eastern states of India, namely, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Tripura, and West Bengal, where it is a five-day annual holiday and a fanfare of fun-filled events. However, it is celebrated on a large scale in other parts of India as well. Such is the level of fervor that tourists from across the world visit West Bengal to be a part of this high-spirited festival.
Apart from India, this extremely religious festival is celebrated in Nepal and Bangladesh also where a significant population of Hindus reside. To honor the Goddess, Bengali communities organize Durgotsab (Durga Puja) in various foreign countries as well. During the entire week of Durga Puja, Bengali people worship different forms of Goddess Durga with sheer passion and dedication. The ten-day festival begins with Mahalaya on the fifth day, followed by Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and ending with Bijoya Dashami. An extravagant display of decorated pandals and artistically depicted idols (Murti) of Goddess Durga makes the festival extremely vibrant and exhilarating.
Over the years, Durga Puja has emerged as a social event for the entire Bengali community. As per the legend, Goddess Durga killed Mahisasura and won the heaven back for the Gods. To commemorate the victory of good over evil, people celebrate the auspicious occasion of Durga Puja. In many parts, the festivities are marked by exchange of Durga Puja gifts among relatives, friends and family members. Most of these gift items have religious significance and/or closely associated with Goddess Durga.
In some parts of India, people also worship Lord Shiva during Durga Puja as Durga is another aspect of Goddess Parvati, the Lord’s consort, according to Hindu mythology. All and all above, people of the entire nation take part in the celebration of Durga Puja, demonstrating the strong bond of brotherhood.