16 Oct Learners Share the Durga Puja Festival
As part of our Spiritual Moral Social & Cultural Policy our students experienced and shared the Durga Puja Festival held by the Bengali Association of Merseyside & North of England taking place at Croxteth Sports & Wellbeing Centre on Altcross Road in Liverpool between the 15th and 19th October.
What is Durga Puja?
Durga Puja ranks among the popular festivals in India. It is widely celebrated in West Bengal and other parts of eastern India.
Durga Puja is the greatest festival of the Bengali community. It is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga.
It is a four-day festival and is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga. Immense fanfare and celebration takes place during the Durga Puja celebrations.
How did Peregrinate Learners & Staff take part?
Peregrinate Learners and Staff were welcomed into the celebrations and took part in several ceremonies including a blessing. Festival organisers and guests could not have been more hospitable and we were welcomed by everyone who attended. Many talked us through the various events and invited us to go up to the stage for the blessing. This was a fantastic opportunity for us all to experience some of the diverse traditions and food that make up our communities. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone associated with the Bengali Association of Merseyside & North of England and their Festival guests for making us feel so at home and for inviting us to share a wonderful and tasty lunch with them. Thank you ALL from ALL of us. A GREAT experience.
Where did this Festival originate?
People across the Indian subcontinent and beyond are marking the annual Durga Puja, a festival which celebrates the central deity in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism.
Taking place in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, the four day festival runs until Friday and is a riot of colour where people celebrate with processions, performance arts and the reciting of scriptures.
The hub of the festival is West Bengal, but it is celebrated throughout India, notably in Bihar, Odisha, and Assam. It is also marked in neighbouring countries Bangladesh and Nepal, where it is known as Dashain.
The festival marks the victory of the goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura, in what is considered a symbolic triumph of good over evil.
But Durga is not the only goddess worshipped the celebrations sees followers revere the Hindu goddesses of Lakshmi and Saraswati. The gods Ganesha and Kartikeya, considered to be children of Durga are also revered, as is the Hindu god, Shiva.
The first Durga Puja in Bengal was held in the early 1600s and the celebrations involve long prayer rituals are conducted by expert priests.
Devotees revere Durga at lavishly decorated stages known as pandals. These incorporate many themes for visitors known as “pandal hoppers,” and no expense is spared to impress them.