Bengal celebrates Mahanavami with community feasts
Kolkata, Oct 10 (IANS) Reflecting the festival spirit of sharing and bonding, people from all walks of life including celebrities relished community feasts at marquees and visited friends and relatives on Monday celebrating Mahanavami — the fourth day of Durga Puja in West Bengal.
Men — nattily dressed in the festive attire of kurta and pyjama with women resplendent in bright sarees — greeted friends, relatives and other acquaintances, clicked selfies, and idled away their time with banter and fun, relishing the infectious carnival spirit, here.
At the marquees and the households worshipping the goddess, people partook bhog (community feast of food items offered to the Goddess first), comprising a varied spread from luchis (deep fried puffed bread) to khichuri, vegetable items, to fish and even mutton.
Famed actress Rituparna Sengupta was also seen taking part in the festivities with friends.
Meanwhile, the religious rituals of Mahanavami or ninth lunar day began after the end of Sandhi Puja held at the confluence of Mahaashtami (eighth lunar day) and Mahanavami on late on Sunday night.
As per Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga killed Chando and Mundo — two asuras (demons) at the confluence (Sandhi) of Mahaashtami and Mahanavami. The Goddess was worshipped as the undefeated – and offered her favourite food items.
This was followed by Maha Arati. In many of the traditional households celebrating the festival, yagna (rituals done before the sacred fire) was organised before the morning puja rituals came to an end.
The five-day carnival is the biggest annual event in this part of the world when even newspaper offices shut down and roads are choked with human traffic throughout the day and night.
According to Bengali tradition, Durga Puja begins with the symbolic arrival of Goddess Durga on Earth along with her sons Kartik and Ganesha and daughters Saraswati and Laxmi on Sashti and ends on Dashami, which is celebrated across the country as Dussehra.
Traditionally, idols of Goddess Durga depict her as slaying the demon Mahishasur. She is shown astride a lion and wielding an array of weapons in her 10 arms.