Autumn is here and once again millions of Bengalis across the globe are preparing frantically for Durga Puja. For those in India it is a crazy time. With all the gifts and new clothes for all the four days of the occasion. It all begins with Mahalaya which signifies the goddess Durga’s journey from her mountain home of Kailash to earth to visit her parents for just four days.
She is accompanied by her four children-Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati and Kartika. Exactly after a week from Mahalaya the festivities of Durga Puja begin. This day is significant because it is the time to remember our ancestors by doing the â€˜tarpanâ€™. It is performed by offering food and water in the names of our near and dear ones who are no longer alive. This also marks the beginning of preparations for Navratri.
In 1930 on this day recitation of â€˜Mahisasurmardiniâ€™ by Premankur Aatorthi, Birendra Krishna Bhadra, Nripendra Krishna Mukhopadhya and Raichand Boral was broadcasted live. Since then every year on this day at 4:00 a.m. all Bengali households are awaken by this recital which talks of how Durga killed the demon Mahishasur (buffalo demon) armed with 10 different weapons.
Mahishasur represents all the evils of the world. Essentially it is the story of good winning the battle against evil. But there is more to it than just that. The comparison has been made to all women and their inherent strength. Durga personifies love, devotion, care along with power, might and vigor. She represents the different roles a woman can perform as the circumstances demand. She is the protector of life and its nurturer.