Amidst heavy and rhythmic beats of “Dhak” (the barrel shaped drum) and “Ulu dhwani” (a sound made from mouth by a group of women typically in Bengal and Orissa), beautiful adorned statues of Goddess Durga are installed on the altars. The atmosphere gets charged with emotions of excitement and joy, because when Mother comes home, all suffering, pain and negativity disappears. So, it is the time to rejoice and make necessary preparations for Mother’s homecoming – the beloved Mother, who protects from all problems of life, is visiting her children afterall! This is the day of Shashti, the sixth of waxing Moon, when the Divine Mother arrives amidst her mortal children and stays firmly rooted in their consciousness. Durga pooja is the most popular festival for Bengalis of West Bengal.
Goddess Durga, the Divine Mother who is an embodiment of power and peace is awakened with devotion and fervor on the sixth day of Devi paksha (fortnight of Goddess) during Sharad Navaratri in the Hindu month of Ashhin (September – October).
Divine Mother arrives at her Earthly home with her four children.
Goddess Durga is installed on the altar along with her children – Saraswati, Kartik, Lakshmi and Ganesha. She marks the importance of the role a mother plays in her children’s life. Her imagery rekindles every woman’s heart with the dynamic power of feminine energy. On one hand she stands for boundless love and affection and on the other, aggressiveness and ferocity that a mother can assume to protect her children from any evil force.
Mortal mothers on Earth welcome the Divine Mother to their household by assuming her role.
For women with children, Durga Shashti is an important day when they fast and pray for well-being of their children. Just as the Divine Mother arrives once in a year to live with her children, listen to their woes and protect them from any trouble, women of household who have children pray to the divine forces to protect their children and remove all obstacles from their lives. By playing out this role of the Universal Mother with utmost devotion, women awaken Goddess Durga in their household, to savor and preserve her energy.
Women wear traditional attire and participate in the rituals to welcome the Mother with respect.
When the Mother is around, it is time for happiness, for coming together in fulfilling their duties to the best of their abilities. They embrace divinity that comes to reside in their souls and regale the beauty, power and creativity of feminine energy.
On Shashti, face of the Mother deity is unveiled (locally known as “Bodhon”) which gives an impetus to the preparations for celebrating their Mother’s presence for the next four days. Women gather together around the Mother to unveil her face and perform rituals of “Amontron”, welcoming her amidst shower of flowers and chanting of mantras by priests. The ritual of “Adibas” sanctifies her stay on this Earthly abode.