Tags Posts tagged with "worship"

worship

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Durga Puja is a famous Hindu festival when Goddess Durga is worshipped. Durga Puja is also known as Durgotsava. Durgotsava refers to all five days festivity and these five days are observed as Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and Vijayadashami. (According to Hindu religious texts Durga Puja, including Chandi Path, should begin from the next day of Mahalaya Amavasya. Mahalaya is the most important day of Pitru Paksha, when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors, is not considered for starting any auspicious work.)

Most states except West Bengal do Ghatasthapana on Pratipada which is the next day of Mahalaya Amavasya. Ghatasthapana is equivalent to Kalparambha during Durga Puja when Goddess Durga is invoked. Kalparambha mostly falls on Shashthi Tithi during Devi Paksha. According to regional customs and beliefs Durga Puja during Shardiya Navratri varies from nine days to one day only which is also mentioned in Dharmasindhu.The Goddess Durga arrives on the Earth on the first day of Devi Paksha which starts on the next day of Mahalaya Amavasya during Pitru Paksha. She departs on Durga Visarjan day. The weekdays when she arrives and departs are significant and considered as omen of coming time.While this is considerably correct, it is perhaps not wholly true, as it is my submission that the Durga puja celebrations are indeed living and pulsating expression of urban folk culture. All the craftsmanship that enriches the pujas, like the designing and execution of the massive theme pandals with their exquisite interior frills and decoration, are new avenues of folk art. The imaginative sculpting of the goddess and her retinue and the special lighting are all products of a refined urban folk culture. Even the songs, that include the traditional pre-puja Aagamoni songs and the prolific literature that are created are also cultural outpourings, though not necessarily of the folk variety. The dhunochi-naach dances that are done before the image, by balancing lighted urns of smoking and burning incense on one’s palms or between the teeth to the furious beat of the drums, are surely a part of folk culture.

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Odisha, a heritage & culturally enriched state in East India is known for archaeological treasures and traditional customs dating from when Ashok, the then King of Magadha conquered  Odisha, then known as Kalinga . There is no better evidence for this religio-spiritual yearning in its popular form than the string of festivals related to numerous religion, culture, tribes, ancient temples, local shrines that is spread over the year.

The most popular among numerous festivals in Odisha, Raja (pronounced as raw-jaw) is celebrated for three consecutive days. It is believed that Earth, the mother goddess or the heavenly spouse of Lord Vishnu experiences feminine cycle during these three days. The fourth day is called as Vasumati gadhua or ceremonial bath of Bhudevi. The term Raja has originated from Rajaswala, which means a menstruating woman. During medieval period the celebration turned out to be more well-known as an agricultural festival remarking the worship of Bhudevi, spouse of Lord Jagannath.

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During the festival, unmarried girls beautify themselves with new clothes, chandan kumkum and alta, a red dye applied in feet. These three days unmarried women and girls take rest from house hold work. Girls play swings tied on tree branches whereas aged ladies play cards and ludo. From plucking flowers to ploughing and irrigation, all agricultural works remain suspended during these days and also all people abstain from walking barefoot on earth. During the festival, the odia cuisine comprises various pithha (pan cakes) among these Podopitha (Rice and Jaggery cake) and Chakuli Pitha (a softer version of South Indian Dosa).

Womenhood

Today, the 21st century young generation is not bothered about these traditions thinking it’s too glittery. But, as a part of women empowerment everybody should know about this festival which is a major part of the Odia tradition. Today, when there are horrific cases of gang rapes, high girl child mortality rates, acid attacks and domestic violence, such festivals shouldn’t remain an obscurity to the rest of the world.