Durga Puja Rituals of our family
The Rituals of Durga Puja is the inauguration of the Goddess idol starts on Maha Shasthi. The main Puja is for three days - MahaSaptami, MahaAshtami, MahaNavami. The Puja rituals are long and very detailed and complicated. Three days of Mantras and Shlokas, sacrificing and Arati and offerings – which needs an expert priest to do this kind of Puja. Our Puja performs with two myths “Shakto” and “Krishna”. Goat sacrificing rituals have been maintained by using the myths of “Shakto” and other Puja rituals have been maintained by using the myths of “Krishna”.
On this day Goddess Durga arrives to the mortal world from her heavenly abode, accompanied by her children through the water filled copper pot that comes in the early morning of Maha Shasthi. She is welcomed with much fanfare amidst the beats of “Dhak”. Unveiling the face of the idol is the main ritual of this day. “Kalaparambha”, the ritual performed before the commencement of the Puja precedes “Bodhon”, “Amantran” and “Adhibas”.
Maha-Saptami is the first day of Durga Puja. Kola Bou or Nabapatrika is given a pre-dawn bath. This is an ancient ritual of worshiping nine types of plants. They are together worshiped as a symbol of the goddess. The main Maha-Saptami Puja follows “Kalparambho” and “Maha-Snan”. After establishing “Kola Bou”, Maha Saptami Puja Starts, and it ends after goat sacrificing and Pushpanjali. The Maha-Saptami bhog is offered to the goddess. In the afternoon every villager of Ghoradanga has been served their lunch with the Prasad of Devi Durga in Durga Dalan (temple). In the evening of Maha-Saptami, the priest start Sandhyarati with the beats of “Dhak”.
The day began with a recital of Sanskrit hymns. The devotees offered Pushpanjali to the goddess. Kumari Puja or the worship of little girls as the mother goddess was a special part of the rituals. It is observed in our family Puja. The Maha-Ashtami bhog is offered to the goddess. As the day wore on, it was the time for the important Sandhi Puja that is the connecting point of the Maha-Ashtami and Maha-Navami. The goat has been sacrificed at that connecting point. It is being heard that Goddess Durga killed Mahisasoor in this connecting point, so it is called Sandhi Puja. In the afternoon every villager of Ghoradanga has been served their lunch with the Prasad of Devi Durga in “Durga Dalan” (temple). In the evening of Maha-Ashtami, the priest starts Sandhyarati with the beats of “Dhak”.
This is the ending day of Durga Puja. The main Navami Puja begins after the end of Sandhi Puja. The Navami Bhog is offered to the goddess. On the day of Navami, the goat has been sacrificed. After goat sacrificing, the Sugar-cane and White pumpkin has been sacrificed also. Within this time of Navami Puja, KaliPuja has also started at Kalitala, many of the goats, ships have been sacrificed. After completion of Puja at the Kalitala, on the way of returning at Banerjee / Brahman Para, the Digambari Song with dance is started. It ends after reaching at Brahman (Banerjee) Para Durga Dalan ( Temple ). This is the farewell song for this year of Puja and welcome song to Goddess Durga for coming in the next year. In the afternoon every villager of Ghoradanga has been served their lunch with the Prasad of Devi Durga in Durga Dalan (temple). In the evening of Maha-Navami, the priest starts Sandhyarati of Maha-Navami. This day has been sponsored by Ghatak family every year.
After the three beautiful days of Puja, the Maha-Dashami comes. A tearful farewell is offered to the Goddess. It seems that the shine on the faces of the clay idol appears, dull. The rituals of this day are the “Darpan Bisarjan”, “Devi Boron” and ”Aparajita Puja”, “Sindoor Khela”, “Ghot Bisarjan” and “Thakur Bisarjan”. The “Sindoor Khela” is for the married women and it is for the married wives and daughters in our family. The “Sindoor” (red vermillion powder) is an auspicious item for any Bengali married woman – it is normally applied on the “Sinthee” (the parting of the hair on the forehead). In the “Sindoor Khela”, these women apply “Sindoor” on the “Sinthee” of the Goddess Durga and then on the “Sinthee” of all women assembled. All present wives and married daughters of Banerjee and Ghatak family play with “Sindoor” (red vermillion powder) in front of the Goddess of Durga to immortal their “Sindoor” (Vermillion) in their “Sinthee” (the parting of the hair on the forehead). After that, Ghot Bisarjan performs, in the pond of our village name “Talbona”. Long years ago, at the time of “Ghot Bisarjan”, both family members observed to fly Brahminy Kite (“Sankhachil”) in the sky, it is being heard.
In the evening, the idol of Goddess Durga is carried by the bamboo structure and at last it is immersed to the pond, “Talbona”, it is termed as “Thakur Bhasan or Bisarjan”. Nevertheless, all good things have to come to an end! Hence, after immersion, we return to the empty “Durga Dalan” and exchange greetings – the younger do ‘Pronam' to their elders by stooping down and touching their feet. The elders return the gesture of blessing the younger ones. Those of the same age group do ‘Kola-Kuli', i.e., Hug and embrace each other. The last item on the agenda is the exchange of sweets. This exchanged of sweets was what Bijaya was all about - an activity we used to look forward in our childhood. It may be hard to believe but, from the day following the immersion, the children would assemble in one spot and then move from one house to another – never wanting to miss out on the different types of sweets and snacks that our neighbors would keep ready for us. Then would follow the comparisons of what one Aunty had done and what another Aunty tried to do but failed!! For those friends and relatives who live out or are settled abroad, Bijaya greeting cards used to be sent. Now, however, it is all through the electronic medium – e-greetings, e-cards, SMS etc..