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The annual festival of the bangalees Durga Puja is celebrated all over Bengal with huge splendor. The worship of Goddes durga is observed for six days,Maha Shashthi,Maha Saptami,Maha Ashtami,Maha Nabami and Bijoya Dashami,during the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu calendar. From Mahalaya to Bijoya Dashami these ten days of festival are called Debi Pokkho,which ends on the day of Kojagari Lakshmi Puja. Durga Puja is widely celebrated among all the bengalee communities outside Bengal and also outside India.
Mahalaya is an auspicious occassion observed seven days before the Durga Puja. This day announces the arrival of the Goddess,the supreme power for the demolition of the evil. The day of Mahalaya is the day of remembrance as people offer 'tarpan' in memory of their deceased forefathers. Priests are seen busy performing 'Tarpan' for devotees in groups on the banks of River Ganga. The rituals which start from early dawn,have to be performed in empty stomach,continues till the midday.
Worship of Durga holds its origin to the mythology of the demon Mahisasura by the Goddess. The male gods wrere afraid of this monster which was a water buffalo. So the power of Shiv,Bramha and Vishnu comprised and created the supreme power,the Goddess. She was decked with ten weapons for her ten hands to kill the demon. She went to battle on her ferocious mount lion,armed with the weapons given to her by the other Gods. Durga is one of the angry and aggressive aspects of the goddess Shakti,whose role was to fight and conquer demons and also personify the Sakti or female aspect of any male deity.
The worship of Devi Durga at this time is called the Akalbodhon as Ram worshipped the Devi during this uncustomary time to seek her blessings for the fireced battle he was fighting against Ravana. The battle started on Shaptami and Ravana was killed in between Ashtami and Navami,he was cremated on Dashami. Therefore the four days of the puja ended in the triumph of the good over evil.
The cities of Bengal and also other cities all over India go through a massive decoration in honour of the celebration of Durga Puja. Pandals are made where the idol of the Goddess is worshipped for the five days. People go out to visit the pandals and have a glimpse of the decoration of the city. Not only this the cities seem to awake for every single minute to celebrate the arrival of the Goddess. It is very common believe among the Bengalees that Durga the is the daughter of Bengal who comes to visit her parents with her four children once a year and brings joy and happiness to all. Preparations for the celebration of Durga Puja starts atleast three to four months before the actual celebration. The idols are made with great care and concern and the pandals are also made with huge attention. People start their shopping of new clothes and gift items. It is a very common practise to give some presentations to near and dear ones on the occassion of Durga Puja.