The festivals that we celebrate are so much more than mere dates on the calendar.
The month of September and October are close to every Indian and because it is in this country that gave birth to infinite festivals. These occasions sum up the soul and the beauty of the entire nation.
For 2019, Durga Puja and Navratri have already begun. But people who are not that familiar with these two festivals, often get confused at times.
Let’s decode and understand the basic differences between these two significant festivals.
- Navrati, as the term suggests, is celebrated for 9 days, while the Durga Puja is celebrated for a period of 10 days.
- Navratri is popular in the western and northern parts of India, while Durga Puja is popular in the eastern parts of the country.
- The rituals are entirely different in both these festivals. This year in 2019, Navratri started from September 29 and Durga Puja started from September 28, and this day is also known as Mahalaya Amavasya.
- On Mahalaya, which is considered as the first day of Durga Puja, the eyes of Maa Durga is drawn, while on the first day of Navratri, Goddess Shailputri is worshipped.
- It is like a ritual for every Bengali to listen to ‘Mahishasur Mardini’ at 4 am on Mahalaya. Legend has it that on this day Goddess Durga got victory over the demon Mahishasura. On the other hand, during Navratri, nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped and it ends with Lord Lama’s victory over Ravana. This day is also known as Vijayadashami.
- In Karnataka, Banni tree is also worshipped during Navratri for all nine days and in Durga Puja, Shiuli flowers are used to worship Maa Durga.
- Devotees follow a strict vegetarian diet during Navratri, but devotees belonging to the Bengali community except for puja days, have a wide variety of non-vegetarian delicacies.
- In Navratri, the pujas are conducted in the temples, but before the Durga Puja, ‘pandals’ are constructed where the clay idols of Maa Durga are installed and kept till the tenth day after that ‘Visarjan’ (immersion of idols) are performed.
- While Navratri ends with Vijayadashami or Dusshera, on the other hand, in Durga Puja, married women indulge in ‘Sindoor Khela’ (Vermillion game) just before the immersion of the idol and wish Vijayadashami to each other. Sweets are also prepared in some Bengali households.
May the generous Maa Durga brighten your life with her blessings and your prayers bring happiness and prosperity.
Happy Navratri and Durga Puja to you!