Durga Puja Dates


Durga Puja starts in the month of Aswin (late September to mid October) with the first phase of the waxing moon. Aswin is the sixth month in the Hindu calendar and the dates of Durga Puja may extend on to the next month as well. The dates may differ each year because of the varying lunar cycle with respect to the solar calendar. The history of Durga Puja in the autumn season can be traced back to the early freedom in Bengal in the year in the mid 1700s. The dates are set according to traditional Hindu lunar calendar.
Durga Puja is also referred to by different names such as ‘Akalbandhan’ (awakening of the Goddess), ‘Sharadiyo Pujo’(autumn worship), ‘Sharodotsab’ (festival of autumn), ‘Maha Pujo’ (Grand Puja), ‘Maayer Pujo’ (Mother’s worship) and Bhagabati Puja.
There are set rituals associated every starting from Mahalaya to Dashami. According to tradition, Durga Puja began on the Mahalaya when Maa Durga is invited to descend on Earth by reciting the Chandi Stotram. Devotees also offer their special prayers to ancestors and forefathers on this day.
The three days of intense worship start a few days after Mahalaya. The most prominent days of worship include the Maha Shashti, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Dashami. It is only during Maha Shasthi that the idol of Maa Durga is unveiled and the Goddess is welcomed with many festivities.
On Maha Saptami, nine types of plants are also worshipped as a form of Goddess Durga. Maha Ashtami is associated with an elaborate Puja sessions when the devotees offer ‘anjali’ to the Maa Durga. During Maha Navami, food (or bhog) offering is made to the Goddess and then distributed among the devotees. The last day of the Puja is Dashami, when the Goddess is bid farewell and immersed in a holy river.
Even though Durga Puja holds a lot of importance for Bengalis residing in Bengal and all over the World, it is celebrated l love the country with much fervor. During the days of Durga Puja, Hindus all over the world offer Puja to Goddess Durga and visit the temple every day. Some people keep a fast for all nine days whereas others fast for the first and last day of Navratra. It is considered auspicious to worship Maa Durga during these dates and believed to bring good fortune and spiritual awareness in the devotees.