Durga Puja is considered to be the biggest festival in Bengal. As the festival approaches, people crowd the markets to shop. A huge crowd was seen at Kolkata’s New Market and Dharmtala on Sunday to shop ahead of the festival.
After two years of COVID restrictions, greater enthusiasm can be seen among people who have gathered to shop.
“There have been a lot of restrictions over the past two years during the pandemic. Durga Puja is a very special and emotional celebration for all of us. People want to buy new things during the festival. Now we finally get to the markets and shop. It feels very good,” Ahana Choudhary, a customer told ANI.
“I came here after too long. I come here occasionally for small purchases, but I avoid coming for celebratory shopping because of the large crowds. Now people can also enjoy online shopping, but the joy of shopping in the market is something else. That’s why I came here and let’s see what I’m going to do,” said another customer.
Customers told ANI that despite the introduction of online shopping, the joy of shopping at the markets is greater: “Online shopping is easier, but coming to the market and shopping there is something different. I used to come with my parents and now I come with my friends and it feels really good.”
“Here we can try out the goods ourselves before we buy them. Also, we can negotiate here, so overall it’s a unique experience,” said another customer.
Celebrated in Shukla Paksha of the month of Ashwin in the Hindu calendar (September-October), Durga Puja is the most important annual festival in Assam. It is also celebrated in other parts of India.
The 10-day festival marks the worship of Goddess Durga. Months before the festival, craft workshops sculpt idols of Durga and her children (Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh) out of unfired clay.
The festival begins on the day of Mahalaya when the ritual of “pran pratistha” is performed by painting the eyes on the idol of the goddess. Sasthi, Saptami, Ashtami… each day the festival has its own meaning and set of rituals. The celebrations culminate on the tenth day known as Vijaya Dashami when the idols are immersed in waters from which the clay originates.
This year Durga Puja begins on October 1st with Maha Shashti and ends on October 5th with Maha Dasami.
The meaning of Durga Puja transcends religion and is revered as a celebration of compassion, brotherhood, humanity, art and culture. From the reverberations of ‘Dhaak’ and new clothes to delicious food, a merry-go-round vibe remains these days.