Durga Puja Festival, India

A major festival in India is Durga Puja, which celebrates the Hindu goddess Durga. There are several days of celebration, ranging from 6 in some areas to 10 in others. Navratri (nine nights) is the name of the festival in most parts of northern India.

All variations aside, there are four distinct days in the Hindu calendar, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami, and Vijay Dashami, which are celebrated with much gusto and magnificence around the country. It commemorates the goddess' victory over a demon, Mahishasura, in most of the country. Hindu mythology says the demon set out to wage war against the gods, and Durga had to kill him to protect the earth. Maha Saptami is the seventh day in Navratri, on which she began her fight against the demon, and she slew him on Vijay Dashami, the final day. Her ten arms are adorned with a number of lethal weapons, and her lion-like vehicle is a representation of her status as the destroyer of evil. Hindu devotees revere Durga as the ‘Mother Goddess’ and the ‘Protector of the Righteous,' also called Bhavani, Amba, Chandika, Gauri, Parvati, and Mahishasuramardini.

Although the festival dates back to ancient times in Hinduism, the first historic record of celebrating the goddess can be found in West Bengal, dating from the 1500s. Nonetheless, it was considered to have gained a lot of prominence during the independence movement and has now grown into one of the biggest festivals in the country. Goddess of freedom was considered an icon by many for the nation and its struggles for freedom. In some parts of the country, idols of the goddess are immersed in water, while in other parts of the country; young girls dress like the goddess and participate in various rituals at temples and in public celebrations.

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