Essay on Funs of the Festival

Funs of the Festival

The clear blue sky, a certain freshness in the air, a little nip in the air that makes the spirit soar – it is time for Durga Puja. In the countryside the white flowers ‘Kash’ seem to be in full bloom to herald the joyous festival. After a long dreary waterlogged monsoon, nature smiles again. On, what fun and frolic, it is festival time. No matter what the preoccupation, the festival stirs the heart, as if the soul itself is blooming.

The delight begins when Durga Puja is just round the corner. A shopping frenzy invades us as we rush from one store to another to buy new clothes shoes and other accessories, so that we can deck ourselves in our finest attire during the festival. Huge banners and hoardings welcoming the Goddess are visible in every street. Puja pandals , in various stages of completion, pop up in different localities and are buzzing with activities.

The frenetic sound of hammer against nails, lashing ropes against bamboo and the workers busy finishing the panel’s decor pierce the air. People await with bated breath and open arms to welcome Goddess Durga, not only to the city but also into their lives. The thrilling experience is at its peak when the Puja actually begins. It is an annual festival of the Hindus which is celebrated with much fervour amidst the worshipping Goddess Durga. This festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil demon Mahishasura. Therefore it signifies victory of good over evil.

The shining clay idols of Goddess Durga along with Her four children, Laxmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik, are housed in the pandals, two or three days before the Puja. The five days of the Puja are aplomb with rituals. On the first day of the Puja, which is called ‘Sasthi’, Goddess Durga is welcomed with blowing of conch shells and the beating of drums.

Each pandal has its unique inauguration ceremony – some with Sanskrit verses, some with ‘Agomoni’ songs while others with Vedic hymns. The festive joy encompasses the whole atmosphere. Music bursts incessantly from pandal loudspeakers, revelers throng the streets, the atmosphere is festive and the nights, although pulsating with celebration , are infused with sanctity in the presence of the Goddess. It is a happy time for all.

People pursue their respective sources of amusement with vigour. Cars inch ahead with drivers silently praying for the mad crowd to move from their way. Hors foot raucously as roads become choked with traffic. People talk animatedly and loudly to make themselves heard over the cacophony. Hawkers on the pavements are in full swing selling their wares. Children as well as adults sample the fast food at makeshift eateries. For full four days, the city is a joyous expression of autumn. The sheer festive mood breaks the barriers of caste, religion, age, gender and economy as the collective consciousness is inundated by the spiritual harmony.

From the early evening, revelers, in the sartorial best, start their pandal-hopping in order to get a glimpse of the Goddess and to appreciate the innovative and intricately designed pandals with their various creative structures, sizes, themes and artistic precision as well as beautiful lighting works with thousands of multlicoloured bulbs that create a magical tableau of images, illuminating the whole city.

The idol of Goddess Durga stands on a huge lion. With ten different weapons in Her ten hands, She is depicted slaying the demon. Her two daughters, Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth, and Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and wisdom, stands on Her either side along with Her two sons, Ganesh and Kartik. These deities are also worshipped along with their Mother Durga.

The priest performs the Puja. Flowers and sweets are offered to the deities. As the thronging crowds visit the pandals, they offer their prayers and also admire the creativity of the artisans. Different themes like Jurassic Park, Olympic Games and Mother Teresa – all are depicted and there is no dearth of imagination or workmanship here.

On the fifth day of the festival, known as Vijaya Dashami, the diols of the Gods and Goddesses are immersed in a nearby water body after bidding them farewell. This day is called Dussehra. This occasion of Durga Puja is celebrated as Navaratri at some places. After the immersion of Goddess Durga in the evening, the time-honoured ritual begins, that of touching the feet of the elders, distributing sweets and expressing goodwill toward friends and family.

The fabulous festive days seem to pass off in the wink of an eye. From the world of enchantment, excitement and enthusiasm, people step down to the world of reality and seek Goddess Durga’s blessings for a happy and peaceful year till Her return. Along with the enjoyment, the festival symbolises the victory of good over evil and inspires us to work for peace and prosperity in society.