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Fasting during Durga puja

Durga Puja is a nine day long festival. Fasting during Durga puja holds a great significance for her devotees.

Durga puja is a grand Hindu festival that goes on for nine days. It is celebrated from the first to ninth date of Ashwin Shukla Paksha of the Hindu calendar. Durga puja festival is observed in various parts of India and even outside India with great pomp and devotion. Durga puja celebration is one of its kinds.

Welcoming Durga

The idol of the mother Durga is established on Ashtami. Bhog (food offered to goddess Durga) is offered on each and every day to Devi (goddess). This food is considered highly auspicious and is later distributed among devotees. Devotees of Durga observe fast for nine days during Durga puja festival. Devotees of Ma Durga faithfully bow their heads in front of the graceful idol of Durga. For nine days Durga is worshipped with great enthusiasm and love.

Significance of fasting

In northern India, especially in Bengal Durga puja is no less than a carnival. In other parts of India too Durga puja celebration has great importance. In Hinduism fasting has religious and spiritual significance. Durga puja fast is concluded on the eighth or ninth day of the festival. Milk and fruits are consumed during the fasting period. Some devotees consume one meal while breaking the fast at the end of the day.

The purpose of observing fast is to show ones faith towards Durga Ma and seek her divine blessings. People are observing fast since ages during the festival of Navratri or Durga Puja, the fast has become an intrinsic part of the festival. Fast is kept so that Durga will bestow her devotees with love, prosperity, well being, growth, and peace.

Significance of worshipping goddess Durga

Durga is the Hindu goddess and she is the symbol of Shakti (power). She also signifies love, wealth, power, beauty and all virtues. Nine forms of Durga are worshipped on each of the nine days of Durga puja. It is believed that during nine days of Durga puja, goddess Durga visits her mother's place in Himalayas. On the tenth day she returns to her husband's place.

Rituals and beliefs

Some people observe the ritual of growing wheat or barley in the earthen pots during Durga puja. The plantation of the seeds signifies prosperity and growth. The idol of goddess is set up and aarti is performed twice a day. While concluding the fast little girls who have not reached their puberty are called Kumarikas. Women who invite Kumarikas (little girls) give them Prasad (food blessed by the gods) and snacks to eat. Some even distribute gifts to the girls.

Procession of goddess durga

The end of the Durga puja festival signifies the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. It is believed that goddess Durga killed the demon called Mahishasura. The day when Devi killed Mahishasura is called as Vijay Dashmi as on that day she won over the evil. This day is like a grand finale of the festival. On Vijay Dashmi the idols of goddess Durga are set for procession. Devotees bow there heads and do the final puja. They admire Goddess Durga's Divinity and elegance. Finally, idols are immersed into water.

Celebrations and festivals bring forward the cultural beliefs and values. They highlight the people's faith that good will always win over evil. There is a divine power that is protecting us and bestowing on us its love and care. If any kind of evil prevails then this power will surely guide us and let us overcome the evil. Fasting too is a kind of faith which makes the relations between supreme power and mankind even stronger.

Do you celebrate Durga puja? Do you keep fast during Durga puja? Why do you like this celebration? To share your tips, views, and experiences, click here.

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