Maha Navami, the fourth day of Sharadiyo Durga Puja, is being celebrated with offering puja followed by anjali to Goddess Durga and sacrificing pumpkins, bananas and cucumbers at temples and makeshift mandaps across the country.
On Maha Navami, Goddess Durga is worshipped as Mahisasuramardini which means the Annihilator of the Buffalo Demon. It is believed that on Maha Navami day Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasura.
Maha Navami is the penultimate day of Navratri, and it is dedicated to worshipping the goddess Durga, who is believed to have manifested her full divine power by this day. It is also the day when Durga is believed to have defeated the buffalo demon Mahishasura, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.
In the morning, devotees performed different rituals and prayers to honor the goddess Durga as Maha Navami puja was offered.
Navami puja typically follows a specific sequence, involving the recitation of mantras and the offering of various items, such as fruits, sweets, incense, and lamps.
In different temples, animals are sacrificed on this day as an offering to the goddess.
Bali (Sacrifice) is an essential aspect of the puja as it invokes power, said a priest Sadhan Chakrabarty.
He said as the Hindus worship Goddess Durga, who is the embodiment of shakti (power), it is essential to incorporate bali in puja, but it does not have to be an animal, he said.
Earlier, people preferred animal sacrifice because of certain socio-economic reason, but now most of the temples and mandaps prefer to use vegetables or fruits in Bali, he added.
On Navami, Dunuchi Nach draws the special attraction as this is one of the most exciting rituals of the Durga Puja.
Clay pots are filled with smoking charcoal. Some people take the pot in their hands and start dancing.
The daredevils try to balance the clay pot on their heads. Some who wish to be even more adventurous attempt to hold the pot through their teeth! Earlier the dhunuchi nach was performed only by men.
However, nowadays women are also emerging as dhunuchi dance experts.
Talking to BSS, Ramna Kali Temple managing committee president Utpal Saha said puja was offered at the temple in the morning followed by offering of anjali by devotees and distribution of prashad among a huge number of devotees there.
An arati competition (dhunuchi dance) will begin in the evening which will see dance performance by devotees holding dhunuchi in their hands, he said.
Today, temples and mandaps will see the highest number of devotees and visitors as the five-day festival will come to an end tomorrow with immersion of idols tomorrow on the final day of Bijaya Dashami.
On Sunday, Maha Ashtami, the third day of five-day Sharadiyo Durga Puja, was celebrated amid different rituals including offering of Anjali, Kumari and Sandhi Puja at temples since morning.
In the morning, Goddess Durga was offered puja followed by offering anjali by devotees and distribution of prashad among them at temples and makeshift pandals across the country including the capital Dhaka.
Kumari Puja, a special ritual of Durga Puja, was held at Ramkrishna Math and Ramkrishna Math, Dhaka this morning as five-year old Shatakkhi Goswami attired with traditional sharee was worshiped in the mould of Uma, said Premananda Maharaj of the mission.
During this puja, a prepubescent girl is worshiped as the living incarnation or avatar of Maa Durga. She is dressed in new clothes and floral ornaments. This ritual has its origins in the Hindu Puranas.
Sandhi Puja was later offered at temples in the city as elsewhere in the country in the late afternoon and evening.
Kumari Puja was held in some traditional temples in Dhaka, Chattogram and other parts of the city.
Sandhi is a transition point between Ashtami and Nabami as the last 24 minutes of Ashtami and the first 24 minutes of Navami are known as 'Sandhikkhon', said a priest Sadhan Chakrabarty.
According to the Puranas, this is an auspicious moment in time when Durga manifests into Chamunda. Chamunda is a fierce, indomitable entity, who single-handedly defeated demon duo Sumbha and Nisumbha.
A total of 108 earthen lamps (pradip) are lit to celebrate this momentous occasion.
On Saturday, Maha Saptami, the second day of the five-day Sharadiyo Durga Puja, was celebrated in befitting manner as temples and makeshift mandaps witnessed huge devotees and visitors while beautifully crafted idols of Goddess Durga was installed formally on the first day of Maha Shasthi on Friday.
Temples and mandaps have been illuminated and decorated gorgeously marking the puja as some puja pandals were portrayed in different themes signifying different aspects of life and religious stories.
Temples and puja mandaps are now witnessing recitation of verses from the Holy Sri Sri Chandi, blowing of conch shells and beating of traditional dhak-dhols (traditional drums), kashor since Friday and it will continue for next days until immersion of idols on the day of Bijoya Dashami on October 24.
Bangalee Hindus might have a plethora of festivals (baaro maaashe tero parbon or 13 festivals in 12 months) but Durgotsab remains the queen bee.
On the final day of Bijaya Dashami tomorrow, puja will be offered in the morning and Darpan Bisharjan will also be held.
In the capital Dhaka, the main puja mandaps are at Dhakeshwari National Temple, Ramkrishna Mission and Math, Kalabagan, Banani, Shakhari Bazar and Ramna Kali Mandir.
In major divisional cities including port city Chattogram, Narayanganj, Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet and district towns including Faridpur, Dinajpur, Jashore, Kushtia, Netrakona, Tangail, Satkhira, are also witnessing massive celebration of Durga Puja.
Durga Puja is being celebrated at 32,408 mandaps across the country this year including 245 in the capital, according to Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad (BPUP).
BPUP general secretary Prof Chandranath Poddar said the country saw Durga Puja celebration at 32,168 mandaps including 241 in the capital last year.
Stringent security measures have been taken across the country during the celebration of Durga Puja to avert any untoward situation.