Sunday, April 14, 2024

Continent Four – Festival One

- Advertisement -
In 2018 the author accompanied the family at the puja of Ealing Broadway London England

Autumn has come and that means the West Bengal state of India in the Asian continent and the whole of Kolkata is humming with the smell of Puja, flowers are waving in people’s hearts. There is a threat of rain in the few days of Puja hidden in the white clouds in the blue sky. And leaving all those thoughts aside, everyone is joining in organizing the festival.

Every Puja, Kolkata is decorated with the artistic creation of hundreds of Durga Puja pandals. The days of Durga Puja passed by the people of Apamar Bengalis with full of joy. And those of us who invoke Maa Durga on the land of exile, thousands of miles away from Calcutta, do not lag behind in any joy. There is a saying that when two or three Bengalis are together, they say ‘Let’s do Durga Puja’. And I have seen the reflection of it with my own eyes in the Durga Puja of four continents around the world; And I felt Bengali means their integral part Durga Puja.

- Advertisement -

The frenzy from start to finish in the puja of a whole complex in Kolkata where the residence is, is the same frenzy in different pujas organized in different countries of the continents of North America, Australia, Europe. I lived in Maidenhead, thirty miles away from London in the United Kingdom, there are almost no Bengalis, so the few Bengalis here go to Slough (Slough) or Reading (Reading) after a few stations to enjoy Durga Puja.

Puja is held in many other cities of England where people of Hindu community come together. From my stay in London, I have come to know that the fun of those pujas conducted by various organizing organizations is similar to the Para Puja of Kolkata. Those organizing organizations are in some cases Bengalis from Bangladesh and in many cases from the Bengali community of Kolkata. At the famous Camden puja of the Mittals in London, I saw the lively gathering of alumni of Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Saw a screening of newly released Kolkata movies at Panchmukhi Puja in London at Harrow. The Puja at Ealing Broadway in London is also very grand.

In fact, only ten Bengalis can organize a Durga Puja together. Not a story, we did it too. My first experience of spending Durga Puja in a foreign land after leaving the soil of India was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Proof: draw human size Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartika, Ganesh and Asura on thick boards and color posters on them, draw and paint vehicles, buy fur to make teddy bears and stick them on the board to make lions, buy shiny beautiful clothes and wear those Tagore sari dhoti, lace After cutting and making jewelry and decorating it, and then standing those Thakurs in the wooden structure and making rice pictures, there was a very crowded pooja. Even foreign pujas do not have the story of Tagore’s sacrifice at the end of the puja. Durga Thakur brought from Calcutta and his children after the puja remained locked in the trunk in different people’s garages and waited for the next puja. Durga painted on the board made by us also remained for several years and the puja was done.

While staying in Sydney, Australia, I saw a wooden Durga idol made by expatriate Bengalis. Sydney’s school houses and community centers are decked out at the end of the week for the Maa Durga festival. It is not possible to build pandals in foreign soil away from Calcutta Therefore, foreign puja in any continent means puja in a temple or by booking a big hall according to Calcutta calendar. But British Sahebs or Australian or American organizations no longer give puja holidays, so weekend or weekend puja is customary in most places.

Durga Puja has been celebrated in Canada for the last four years. The Durga Puja of the Toronto Durgabari temple organized by Bangladeshis near the city of Toronto is celebrated according to the country’s calendar and rules. Same goes for Toronto Kalibari. Just a few more days to wait. After reaching the puja one by one every day, I want to enjoy the puja with khichuri and labra and be happy this time too. Cultural programs are also organized every evening. I saw Lopa Mudra and Jai Sarkar in London during the puja ceremony. And this time, Canadian Bengalis will enjoy the musical performance of Ankita Bhattacharya and her mother in the puja of Canada’s Bengali family. They have their own various programs, plays, songs, dance dramas.

In fact, no matter which continent Maa Durga comes to, Bengalis welcome her with their love and culture and lose themselves in the joy of Puja.

Brampton, Canada

- Advertisement -

Stay in Touch

Subscribe to us if you would like to read weekly articles on the joys, sorrows, successes, thoughts, art and literature of the Ethnocultural and Indigenous community living in Canada.

Related Articles