Durga Puja is a universal religious festival practiced throughout Hindu society. It is true that Yag-Yajna, Puja-Parvan etc. religious events are the container and carrier of our spiritual and moral progress. But it is more true that these festivals play an important role in creating and protecting social harmony, solidarity and brotherhood. As Durga Puja is the biggest religious festival of Hindus, the importance of Durga Puja in making the above accessories is immense. However, it is celebrated as one of the most special religious, social and cultural festivals in Bengali Hindu society. Autumn Durga Puja is the festival of excitement, joy and emotion of the soul, mind and heart of Bengali Hindus. Again, Diwali and Diwali festivals are celebrated with more gaiety and pomp among North India and Hindi speaking people.
Chandi Mahamaya Durga Puja of Markandeya Purana is specially published and developed. Mahashaktidayini Durgamata is the symbol of truth, beauty, justice and religion. Mahishasura, on the other hand, is a symbol of evil, injustice and destructive forces. Goddess Durga Puja must be done to establish truth, beauty and justice in Asuradlon, Durgtinasha, against injustice, oppression and injustice. Kriivasa wrote in his Ramayana that Rama himself worshiped and worshiped Durga during the autumn battle against Ravana. Autumn Durga Puja is called ‘Akal Bodhan’. Goddess Durga Puja is performed in Shukla Paksha of Ashwin or Chaitra month.
In the Mahabharata too, Lord Krishna instructed Arjuna to worship Goddess Mahashaktidayini before the battle of Kurukshetra. Durgamata is the embodied power of all the gods and goddesses – who appeared in this Dharani to establish Dharma, truth and beauty by slaying Mahishasura, the symbol of evil and evil. The theoretical mystery of Durga Puja is devotional worship, worship and prayer to the five symbols of the same Supreme Being. Durga Puja in the month of Ashwin or autumn is known as Autumn Durga Puja and Durga Puja in the month of Chaitra or spring is known as Basanti Puja. However, the popularity of autumn Durga Puja in the month of Ashwin is high everywhere and in the month of Ashwin, Durga Puja is celebrated in large numbers with great enthusiasm and in the presence of a large number of spectators and devotees. In Hinduism Devi Puja means the worship of Matrika Shakti. This Matri Puja is the worship of a Mahabhava and Mahashakti which we know as Durga Puja or specially known everywhere.
Durga Puja is currently celebrated with great enthusiasm in many countries of the Indian subcontinent and the world, including India, Bangladesh and Nepal. However, due to being the main religious festival of the Bengali Hindu society, this puja is more prevalent in the Indian states of West Bengal, Epura and Jharkhand and in Bangladesh. Even in the Indian states of Assam, Bihar, Manipur and Odisha, Durga Puja is celebrated with great enthusiasm. In other states of India, diaspora Bengalis and local people celebrate autumn Durga Puja and Navratri festivals according to their own traditions. Durga Puja is organized by Bengali Hindus living and working in Western countries including America, Canada, Britain, France, Sweden, Italy and other western countries. Usually Sharadiya Durga Puja is held from the sixth to the tenth day of Shukla Paksha of the month of Ashwin. These five days of Autumn Durga Puja are known as ‘Durgashtami’, ‘Mahasaptami’, ‘Mahastami’, ‘Mahanvami’ and ‘Vijayadsami’ respectively.
The Shukla Paksha of the month of Ashwin is called ‘Devipaksha’. The new moon at the beginning of Devipaksha is called Mahalaya; On this day, Hindus pay homage to their ancestors. A special and popular program is broadcast on the morning of Mahishasurmardini Mahalaya day on various radio and TV channels. Mahalaya really seems like Durga Puja has arrived everywhere and all around to welcome Goddess Durgatinashini Goddess Mata. The last day of Devipaksha is Kojagri Purnima. On this day, Hindus worship Goddess Lakshmi from house to house.
Earlier at the family level Sharadiya Durga Puja was organized mainly in rich families. Old rich families in Kolkata, Medinipur, Burdwan, Dhaka, Natore, Comilla used to organize Durga Puja which was known as ‘Banedi Bari Puja’. In family Durga pujas, the emphasis was on observing the scriptural religious rules. Many relatives gather at home on the occasion of Puja. During Durga Puja, married girls visit their father’s house and participate in the festivities. On the other hand, at the regional level, the Durga Puja organized jointly by the residents of an area, region or village is known as Barwari Puja or Public Puja.
Public worship started during the anti-British anti-tyranny movement in India. The concept of nationalistic patriotism took the form of a revolution by standing against the injustice, oppression and injustice towards the Motherland or Bharatmata or the Motherland by keeping in mind the Goddess Durga, the Goddess Durga. Bankimchandra composed his song Vande Mataram from the thought of Goddess Durga, which served as an important mantra of India’s independence movement. Revolutionary, patriotic and nationalist leaders like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Bipin Chandra Pal, Deshbandhu Chioranjan Das were associated with various public Durga Pujas.
Now public Durga Puja is more common in cities and villages and public Durga Puja is more popular in all regions. Durgotsava has elevated Bengali’s rich cultural heritage to global prominence. Sharadiya Durgotsava of autumn is not a festival, it is like a universal festival which is playing a strong role in creating and protecting harmony, communal harmony, brotherhood. Religious rituals, sense of spirituality, culture, diversity, kinship gathering, bond of social love, bond of cordial brotherhood among all irrespective of caste, creed, caste have made Sharidiya Durgotsava a universal religious festival.
Bengali Hindus who came from Calcutta in Montreal, Canada first started Durga Puja in the 60s of the last century. Hindus coming from Bangladesh used to participate in Durga Puja with them ie Indian Bengalis. They used to participate in the joyful atmosphere by donating. As there was no temple of its own, the pujas were usually held in the month of October i.e. on a weekend in the month of Ashwin in a reception hall or school auditorium.
Canada is a developed democratic country of immigrants. The number of Hindus arriving in Montreal from Bangladesh continued to increase and they also decided to start worshiping independently. As far as I can remember, I started the first Durga Puja in Montreal in 1989 AD. That arrangement was without idols. While Bangladeshi Canadians did not have Durgama statues then, there were diverse cultural events, plays, songs, dances, recitations and speeches – all organized. In 1993, Bangladeshis first started Durga Puja by bringing Durga idol from Calcutta to Montreal. A good news is that Hindus from Bangladesh have successfully established two temples in Montreal today.
Currently there are two temples of Bangladeshi-Canadian Hindus in Montreal. One is called Bangladesh Hindu Mandir which was established in 2011 AD and the other is called Sanatan Dharma Mandir which was established 1/2 year later. Various pujas, birthdays, weddings and cultural events are celebrated in both the temples with great enthusiasm and grandeur, including Autumn Durga Puja, Lakshi Puja, Shyama Puja, monthly Satyanarayan Puja, New Year celebrations, in both the temples with great enthusiasm and enthusiasm. Sharidiya Durga Puja in 2023 will begin on October 20 this year, wishing universal harmony, peace, well-being and welfare against evil forces. Like every year, Bangladesh Hindu Mandir located at 3042 Rue Alerte in Montreal and Sanatan Dharma Mandir located at 6221 Monk Boulevard are organizing Durga Puja in a beautiful bond of universal harmony and cordiality. Bengalis from India also participated in these pujas. As there is no temple of their own, Bengalis from India still perform Durga Puja in a community center on the weekends of October.
Both the temples in Montreal are going to celebrate the 5-day autumn festival from October 20 to October 23 according to the Tithi. Let us pray on the occasion of Sharad Durgotsava, that we may surrender ourselves to the will of Almighty God and be guided by human values to pave the way for spiritual progress. May the victory of truth, beauty, justice and humanity be ushered in by the fall of injustice and evil forces – this is our prayer, desire and hope.