Puja of Ma Durga is a major festival of Bengalis, for which they keep waiting the whole year. Calcutta Durga Puja festival is celebrated on a large scale with great pomp and gaiety. It is celebrated to worship mother Durga, the Goddess of power (Shakti). It celebrates the victory of ma Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Durga Puja of Kolkata, India usually takes place during the autumn period from September-October. The weather is pleasant, giving air a festivity touch. Though the festival of Durga puja is celebrated throughout Bengal, but it is special in Kolkata. Durga puja involves the performance of a long series of rituals. Every day starting from the day of the Mahalaya, the days of Sashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami or Bijoya Dashami has its own set of rituals. Durga puja is a time for socializing with friends, family and relatives. People dressed in their new clothing, visit pandals, eat mouthwatering food and enjoy the drumbeats. It is truly the best time to catch up with your old friends. The whole city is lit up and the otherwise relatively quiet and peaceful city is bustling with people and the city does not sleep for almost a whole week . The whole city is united and they come out as one to worship the Goddess Durga .
Commemoration of Bengali New Year and also celebrates the beginning of summer time
Calcutta Nabobarsho festival is celebrated to mark the beginning of Bengali New Year and the arrival of summer time. It takes place during the mid of April. Nabobarsho festival of Kolkata India has a lot of significance for all. It is on this day that businessmen take their accounts books and the statues of Ganesh and Lakshmi along and visit the Kali temple for seeking the divine blessings. On the Naboborsho, the markets are beautifully decorated with garlands, auspicious mango leaves; sola pith ornaments etc. On the eve of Bengali New Year, Charak puja is conducted. This day is a holiday throughout the city where people spend time with their loved ones , friends and family and thank the Almighty for the previous year and invoke blessings for the following year.
Saraswati, the Goddess of learning
Saraswati puja is one big occasion in Kolkata that takes place during the period between late January and early February. In fact, the day when puja of Ma Saraswati is done is declared as a state holiday. Calcutta Saraswati puja festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. It is on this day that the youngest female of the family is asked to dress up in yellow clothing. Sarswati puja of Kolkata India is dedicated to the goddess of learning.
Saraswati puja is conducted in almost every locality of Calcutta. People of the locality get together and assemble at the pandal to celebrate the festivity. Children are really enthusiastic about the puja. It is during this puja that children pray to the goddess for their academic success. It is usually the pundit who performs the puja. After the puja is over, prasad is distributed to all. As cute as it is children are excused from their daily studies on this day. On this day boys are dressed in their kurtas and the women are dressed in their beautiful saris . They pray ardently to invoke the blessings of Goddess Saraswati.
Kolkata Book Fair
The Kolkata Book Fair though not a typical festival is celebrated as one with equal enthusiasm as any other festival with the whole city flooding to the Milan Mela where it is held every year . It is the world’s largest non-trade book fair and Asia’s largest book fair and the most attended book fair in the world. The main aim is to promote the reading of books which is slowly dying in the fast paced technological advancing world where e-books are replacing the good old ‘paperbacks’. The book fair is not a restricted one. It promotes and celebrated the wonderful works by our very own authors and equally appreciates and creates an awareness of the literature of other countries . There are book stalls from every possible country and every possible publisher and company.
Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas carols, choir, light and sound exhibition, rock music, shimmering lights, delectable food – these are the myriad nuances of Christmas Celebration at Park Street in Kolkata. Christmas in Kolkata cannot be complete without an illuminated Park Street and a mad jostle to get into one of the famed restaurants at the city’s entertainment hub. Kolkata will be swinging to the Yuletide spirit like never before this winter. The city’s entertainment hub will usher in December with a unique Christmas Carnival, bringing together different communities through music, food and carols at a street mela. The opening of the festival will be followed by a carol singing session in which several churches will take part.Leading Christian organizations including the Methodist Church of North India, catholic churches, The Seventh Day Adventist Church and the Church of North India will be taking part in the festivities. Children will be dressing up to pose with Father Christmas for photographs. Underprivileged children of the neighborhood will be given gifts. People of different religions go out for the mid night mass to the different churches to celebrate the birth of Christ.
These are just a few festivals to name Kolkata is known as the “City Of Joy” and it lives up to its name. It celebrates each and every festival with equal pomp, mirth and enthusiasm, irrespective of the religious difference. The whole city comes together as ONE and celebrates every festival putting behind religion ,race, caste and creed behind and come together as one big family and celebrate as if it were their own. This is what makes Kolkata special as compared to other cities. Everyone feels at home and wanted and a part of the family. This Love, warmth , affection and the “we feeling” which our country stands for can be seen in a small way in Kolkata and this is what makes it unique and different and special. You must come and experience it for yourself to know and understand what I mean.
Picture credits : Durgapuja.co.in