Bengal is a land of festivals and the Festive Season Of Kolkata is beginning. There is a famous saying in Bengali ‘‘Baro Mase Tero Parbon” which literally means thirteen festivals in twelve months. Almost all festivals of various religions are celebrated here with equal religious enthusiasm. The people of West Bengal strive hard to maintain the tradition and culture of their land in the festivals they celebrate. A significant number of fairs are also organized. As we know the most famous festival celebrated in Bengal is Durga Puja which all the people together celebrate this four-day festival. Other festivals which are also celebrated in Bengal with enthusiasm are Kaali Puja, Basant Panchami, Eid, Bhai Phonta, Holi, Mahavir Jayanti, Buddha Jayanti, Rathyatra, Christmas, etc.
Kolkata celebrates some of India’s biggest Hindu festivals, In the Festive Season Of Kolkata, there is always something festive going on in the city. Rarely more than a few weeks pass without some kind of festival filling the streets with celebrations and decorations.
The following are some of the biggest public festivals in West Bengal, offering rich opportunities to experience Bengali culture, creativity, and cuisine. Let’s explore the Festive Season Of Kolkata.
Mahalaya: This is an auspicious occasion held seven days before the grand celebration of Durga Puja, and the advent of Devi Durga, the goddess of supreme power. It’s a kind of invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth to her birthplace. Through Mahalaya the Festive Season Of Kolkata begins. This is done through chanting mantras. The day is called Mahalaya, the day of the beginning of Devi Paksha and the end of Pitri Paksha. On the dark night of the new moon, pray to Devi Durga to arrive on earth to win off all evils. Traditionally on this day sculptors who have been working for days carving the statue of Devi Durga, carry out their final touch of drawing the eyes of the Mother. Its called Chokkhu Daan.
Durga Puja: The most important festival for Bengalis is Durga Puja. This festival is celebrated in October, throughout West Bengal, especially in Kolkata. During the time of Durga Puja, people from all around India and the world visited West Bengal to enjoy the essence of the great festival. All the workplaces and educational institutions are closed during the festival. Durgotsav is the most important festival in the City of Joy, Kolkata. This is the festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. This festival is celebrated for five days. On these five days, people wear new clothes and visit all the Puja pandals and worship the ten-armed Maa Durga. The idols of goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, Ganesh, Saraswati, and Kartikeya are beautifully illuminated and decorated pandals. There are some priests appointed to perform the prayers throughout the day and night at specific times while the devotees visit these pandals throughout the day and night. In towns and villages, in the evening, drama, song, music, dance programs, sports, physical and cultural competitions, etc are held in which everyone participates. Community feasts are also held.
On the last day of the festival, the clay images of goddess Durga are taken in a colorful procession throughout the city to be immersed in the river. The fairs are held everywhere and sell various articles of utility and handicrafts. Durga Puja is held over a period of five days from Sashti to Dashami.
Lakshmi Puja: In Bengal, the most important day to worship Goddess Lakshmi falls on the full moon day in the lunar month. Also, it is known as Kojagari Lakshmi Puja. Kojagari Purnima is known as Sharad Purnima in most parts of India.
Kali Puja: About three weeks after Durga Puja, this overnight celebration is dedicated to Maa Kali, another demon slaying avatar of the Hindu Devi. Diwali is the pan-Indian festival of lights and good power. Across Kolkata, pandals are constructed to worship idols of the goddess Kali, There are priests appointed to perform the prayers throughout the night as the puja continues long into the night, families light up their homes with the glow of candles diyas and LED fairy lights, as the sky is set aflame with the exploding fireworks.
Jagadhatri Puja: Meaning the savior of the universe. The Goddess who comes to save the people on earth from the demonic sight of the asuras. According to the Vedic holy writ, Goddess Jagaddhatri is another form of Devi Durga among her 108 avatars. The Bengali month of Ashwin Devi appears in the form of the four-handed Devi Jagaddhatri.
ChhathPuja: This is an ancient Hindu festival and the only Vedic Festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya, and Chhathi Maiya / Usha. The Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for providing life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes.
Saraswati Puja: is celebrated in the month of January or February. It coincides with Vasant Panchami. People place books near the Maa Saraswati idol or picture and worship the goddess. Many choose the day as a symbolic start to learning the alphabet of Hate Khori children. Devi Saraswati symbolizes 100 counts of gun or purity, discrimination for true knowledge, insight, and wisdom.
Poush Sankranti: In Bengal Sankranti also known as Poush Parban named after the Bengali month Poush Mash. This month is celebrated as a harvest festival. The freshly harvested paddy along with the date syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur and Patali. Is used in the preparation of various kinds of traditional Bengali sweets made with rice flour, milk, coconut, and khejurer gur and is known as Pitha/ Pitha Puli.
Ganga Sagar Mela: Also known as Ganga Mela is usually held in the month of January, at Sagardwip on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Sagardwip is an island situated at the mouth of the Ganga & Hugli river that joins the sea. The largest fair in West Bengal is celebrated for three days. Huge numbers of Hindu pilgrims gathered here and take bath in the holy Ganga water, visiting the Kapil Muni Temple. The fair is the second largest fair of mankind after the Kumbha Mela.
Christmas Day: This is a festival that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. On 25th December a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. Holidays in many of the world’s nations are celebrated culturally by a large number of non-Christian people and are an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season. Usually in Bengal people gather on park street and church for prayers.
New Year’s Day: This is the first day of the year. New Year’s Day is a public holiday in all countries, except for Israel. It is a traditionally celebrated sky set with firework displays across the globe at 0:00 in the local time zones.