Durga Puja – Homecoming of a Goddess
The festival of Durga Puja and Navratri is celebrated on a grand scale in India. Although celebrated pan India, each region has distinctly different rituals and festivities.
While the Bengalis of West Bengal, Tripura, Odisha, and the other parts of North East see it as cultural assimilation which celebrates the art and fervor of life for five days, for the people in the West and North of India, that is, the Punjabis, Maharashtrians, and the Gujaratis, the festival includes nine days of fasting and celebration and is also called Navratri.
The history and origin of these festivals demonstrate how Durga Puja is a markedly different festival than Navratri with the mythologies, the rituals, the tradition, and beliefs varying at a greater length.
Although Durga Puja has been celebrated since ancient times there is no reference to it in Vedic times. In fact, scholars point out that in the Vedas, the name of this demon slayer goddess was not known.
However, we see various sculptures and deities from as early as the 14th century. You can even see them depicted on the walls of terracotta temples of Bengal.
The Stories, the Myths, the Rituals
Mythology Stories: Durga is worshipped in two forms - one the popular demon slayer form called ‘mahisasurmardini’ and the other ‘Uma’ the family woman, the mother of Shiva’s children, and the daughter of Kailash Parbat.