President greets people on Durga Puja

New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee greeted  people on Durga  Puja  Monday  &  asked them to pray to Goddess Durga for peace, happiness and prosperity. In a message of greetings to the people, Mukherjee said: "The festival of Durga Puja marks the victory of good over evil. It is the celebration of shakti (power) and bhakti (devotion) and symbolises our inner struggle to rise to higher levels of consciousness. This is a festival in which every household brims with worship and merriment." "Let us pray to mother Durga, who epitomises female dynamism, that she guides us in the path of righteousness and blesses our land with peace, happiness and prosperity," said Mukherjee. The message added: "May this festival strengthen bonds of brotherhood and may Goddess Durga shower her blessings on all our people for years to come." President Mukherjee is celebrating Durga Puja at his ancestral home in Mirati village in West Bengal. Source: News Track IndiaDurgapuja : Bengali's Favourite Festival: Durga Puja is performed during the autumn season every year. For the Hindus, it is the greatest festival. The puja is held for  the three consecutive days :  the Saptami, the Astami and the Navami and the fourth day, the Dashami, the image is immersed in the water of a tank or a river. Sindur khela(vermilion play) is a major event of Dashami. Married women apply vermilion to each other and greet each other with sweets. It is in the evening when the image of Goddess Durga is immersed in the water. Bengalis greet each other with Bijoya Greetings and men follow the customary 'Kola-Kuli' (embracing each other). Durga Puja is a festival that the Bengalis celebrate without religious inhibitions. It is more of a socio-cultural celebration that tends to renew kinship with friends and relatives. The image is worshipped along with those of other deities like Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya. The frame, on which the said images are installed, contains also the image of Asura (demon) and the lion, the vehicle of Goddess Durga. There is also a rat at the feet of Ganesha. There is a Chal-Chitra which is a circular canvas of mat containing paintings of heavenly scenes placed at the back of the idols. The entire frame of the Gods and Goddesses is placed on a raised platform of altar made of wooden plunks. The Mandap is decorated savilion with beautiful illumination. Every evening, the priest performs aarati or greets the Goddess by waiving lamps and incense in accompaniment of the beating of drums, while the puja (worship) is held. During this great festival, the Hindus buy new clothes for their near and dear ones. they  want to forget their past differences with their rivals or enemies. After the immersion, on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami, the Hindus embrace one another as a token of love and affection, and distribute sweets among all. Durga Puja is now-a-days more a festival than a religious rite. Sometimes the non-Hindus are also found to participate in the festival as a social gesture. Durga Puja is more popular in Bengal. It is performed with more pomp and grandeur there than in any other state of India. People from neighbouring states come to Kolkata during the time, in order to witness the attractive Puja pavilion. Durga Puja is also held at Delhi, Mumbai, chennai and other important cities and towns of India, and also the villages. Durga Puja was first performed in Bengal by a Zaminder (Landlord). Then it came to be popular with the introduction of the Sarvojanin pujas performed with the joint effort of about twelve Zaminders; and hence it is called Barwari (twelve years or friends). Now-a-days, Durga Puja is also held at London and New York, where the Indians perform the puja every year. Mother Goddess Durga is considered as the most powerful Goddess who is the bestower of strength, prosperity and all the best gifts in life. So the devotees pray to Her for various boons. She killed the demon king Mahishasura who had been troubling the Gods and Goddesses and occupied Indra's throne in heaven. So the Gods and Goddesses also worship the great Goddess Durga. She is also known as Mahisasuramardini. The legend is incorporated inSri Sri Chandi, a chapter in the Markandeya Purana composed by sage Markandeya. Source: BengalMediaImage:

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