Durga Puja (also: Durgotsav or Sharodotsav) is one of the largest festivals in Hinduism and is celebrated to honour and worship Goddess Durga. Although celebrations take place all over in India, the rituals and traditions differ from region to region.
Durga Puja is held as the most important festivity in the state of West Bengal where it is celebrated over 5 days: Mahasashti, Mahasaptami, Mahashtami, Mahanavami and Mahadashami.
The Goddess Durga symbolises Perfection, Knowledge, Action, Wisdom and Energy (Shakti). The Durga Puja festival celebrates Goddess Durga’s triumph over the Demon Mahishasura, who symbolises the Evil, Ignorance, and Selfishness. The daily religious ceremonies describe parts of Durga’s battle with Mahishasura and parts of this are recited during the daily prayers and service.
The festivities peak on the final day “Mahadashami” which denotes the “Day of Victory”. It signifies happiness, conciliation and fraternisation. “Mahadashami” (also: Vijayadashami or Dussehra) is a national holiday in India.