Mahalaya - the First day of Durga Puja Festival

Xavier Bage By Xavier Bage, 3rd Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Festivals

With Mahalaya, ten day festival of Durga Puja starts in the state of Bengal (India). Here is a glimpse into the most important worshiping event of the Hindu Bengali.

The good vanquishes the evil

The first day of the Hindu Bengali religious festival Durga Puja is called Mahalaya. This year it falls on October 4. Every Hindu home looks forward to this day which ushers the ten days of festivities. Much before the sunrise Sanskrit chant of litany “Ya devi sarvabhuteshu ..namastutey .namastutey.. namastutey” to the goddess Durga fill the air. In earlier times when All India Radio was the only electronic media people used to sit around a radio set to hear the chant. These days when the TV has taken over each and every home, more than one channels telecast the Mahalaya story. People sit before their TV with their eyes glued to the screen for three hours at a stretch.
The story in a nutshell runs on this line. Asuras (demons) repeatedly attack the realm of the gods and drive them away from their abode of pleasure. This time, the powerful demon king, Mahisasur has done this. The gods run to the God of gods Shiva for help. Shiva promises to send Parvati to fight Mahisasur and kill him. Gods give their special weapons to Parvati and she takes the form of ten-armed Durga. In the ultimate fight, Durga vanquishes Mahisasur and puts an end to his oppression. And so, she is called Mahisasurmardini.
Usually, a popular actress or dancer takes the role of the goddess. The story is enacted with much singing and dancing of the classical variety. The gods in their godly attire and glittering crowns look imposing. The demons in their dark complexion and with huge moustaches appear horrible. Their continual cruel laughter is repeatedly heard during the presentation.
On other mornings, I wake the children of my Children’s Home from their sleep. On the Mahalaya morning, it is they who wake me up with their ‘demonlike’ running around. They wait at the door of the community hall for the show to begin soon after the first cock crows.
Incidentally, many men will be seen taking a dip in the holy river and offering respects to their dead forefathers.


Demons, Gods And Goddesses, Good And Evil, Hinduism, Myth, Religion

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author avatar Xavier Bage
social worker, physician, teacher - would like to write on social life, health, homeopathy, family, children, spirituality- like to write short essays, short stories, poems

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author avatar Johnny Knox
3rd Oct 2013 (#)

Interesting post. I guess it would be a great experience to witness this festival.

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author avatar Hansini Gayen
4th Oct 2018 (#)


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author avatar Hansini Gayen
4th Oct 2018 (#)

Wonderful and I think I got the help

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