Believe it or not, every event has its sign of advent.
Could you ever imagine how we get to know it is dawn? It is “Aarush” (Sanskrit word), the first ray of sun that signs us it is about to dawn. Signs mirror so many things that we know but hardly can notice in the absence of these signs. Akin to other signs, Kash Phool/Kans Grass and Shiuli/Parijat flower during October are the symbolic environmental attributes of the touching down of Maa Durga in the earth with her family (Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati, and Lord Ganesha and Kartika).
Durga Puja is one of the most celebrated festivals in Hindus and happens between September to October every year. To Bengalis, Durga Puja is a grant five-day celebration that every Bengali waits for the whole year.
Less Known Facts of Durga Puja
Today, we are not going about the usual facts of Durga Puja that everyone knows. We are going to unfold such things that are lesser-known.
- Akal Bodhaan & Basanti Puja: Do you know why Durga Puja is named as Akal Bodhaan? Durga Puja, celebrated during September or October (in Autumn) was performed by Purushottam Rama is called Akal Bodhaan. It is said that Rama worshiped Devi Durga in this odd season to please her and to get Maa Durga’s blessing to defeat Ravana and to rescue his wife, Mata Sita from the captivity of Ravana.
Whereas, the Durga Puja firstly celebrated in Spring is called Basanti Puja, and it is the actual Vaidik(Baidika) timing of worshiping Maa Durga.
- Clay Collection: We all know that the idol of Devi Durga is made of clay. Many of us know that the clay is collected from the bank of Hoogly River. But, this is a piece of truth and there is something to get uncovered. To shape the idol of Maa Durga, the clay has to be mixed with the clay collected from brothel (Nishiddho Palli), the forbidden areas of society where prostitutes abode in.
According to tradition, a priest has to visit the house or area of prostitutes and he has to beg for the soil from the prostitutes to build the idol of Devi Durga. In this way, it is tried to depict that to Maa Durga every one is equal and there is no matter of discrimination when deity tenders her blessing to all of her children.
- Chokkhu Daan Parva: We all know that Chokkhu daan is one of the important rituals in the Durga Puja celebration. How many of you are aware of the fact that when the Chokkhu Daan ritual happens in actual? I am afraid to say, many of us. It is the on the Mahalaya when the Chokkhu Daan ritual is performed by the sculptor in privacy. During the ritual, the sculptor draws the eyes of the deity in pouring his heart and emotion and marks the day as the beginning of Durga’s voyage to her father’s house, the Martayalok, or Earth.
- Vehicle of Arrival: Maa Durga does not land on the earth on the same vehicle every year. The vehicle is decided on the day of her landing on the earth. The vehicles are Lion, Elephant, Boat, Horse, and Palanquin. The vehicles on which Maa Durga lands on the earth every year are different from the vehicles on which she departs.
- Dakker Saaj: We see Devi Durga idols in different shapes and designs. But, the principal elements to embellish the idol of Maa Durga are Shola and beaten silver or raangta. The beaten silver was initially imported from Germany and it arrived via mail or postal service (Daak in Bengali). This is why the embellishment of Maa Durga with beaten silver or raangta is known as Dakker Saaj.
- Kola Bau Snan & Kumari Puja: Kola Bau Snan and Kumari Puja are not so uncommon facts of Durga Puja. Though, there is a contradiction that Kola Bau is the bride of Lord Ganesha or Maa Durga herself. When it is all about Kumari Puja, there is a story. The ritual of Kumari Puja was started by Swami Vivekananda in Belur Math. It is to worship the holy spirit of girls in their tender age when they are away from malevolence and the ritual is performed on the Eighth day or Asthami in Durga Puja.
Hope, everyone enjoys reading this blog and feels happy to know the unknowns.
Happy Durga Puja to all of you! Stay Happy & Be Blessed!