Image of godess Durga at Dhakeshwari Mandir in the city
: Bangladesh is a country, where people of all religions coexist peacefully and so religious festivals irrespective of religions are traditionally celebrated with enthusiasm by all.
With Hindu religion's main festival 'Durga Puja' is being celebrated currently, people of all walks of life are enjoying it utmost. It is called the "Universal Durga Festival". As, people from all religions have equal interest in it, they visit 'Mandaps'. Moreover, in this country, goddess Durga doesn't come only for Hindus but also for the whole Bengali nation from Shashthi to Doshomi.
Durga Puja, as the name suggests, is a festival dedicated to the worship of Hindu Goddess Durga. Also referred to as Durgotsav, the festival is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil.
Walking into a puja pandal, the first thing that strikes a person's mind is the vibrant colours! The spirit of the celebrations is embodied in not only the decorations but also the people. The statues of the goddesses are prepared for months and each detail is taken care of before they are brought to the venues.
The exquisite art work of jewelry, royal attires and doe eyes on mud are brought to life by talented sculptures from all over the country.
Diya, illuminating the temples, hymns being chanted with aarti, and agar bati spreading aromatic dusky fog create a pleasant atmosphere. You are sure to hear the ulu dhwani, a vocal sound made by women, in order to drive off evil spirits and negativity that may threaten the sanctity of the occasion.
These festivals often facilitate live performances and if one is not dancing in front of the blaring speakers, they can always watch small children and teenagers losing themselves with the beats.
The special thing about Durga Puja is that it consists of five days. So, on each day, there is a scope to bring a variation in fashion in terms of the colours, designs, fabrics and types of the outfits, hairdo, makeover etc. Therefore, there are more possibilities in terms of fashion in Durga Puja than any other festival.
Shaptami to Doshomi, on these four days, people go to Mandaps to perform Anjali. Mandaps are very crowded at this time.
Regarding outfits, one can go for fusion one day, on another day can go for full traditional. However, sarees are a must. It holds much significance in both Bengali culture and Hindu religion.
As Puja goes for five days, performing Anjali and Aarti, playing with colours and Abir on Doshomi, in those times, sarees are the most preferred outfit.
Then again, in Doshomi, white saree with red border is very common when sindoor (vermillion) is given to the "mother". Ninety per cent women try to maintain this custom.
Fabrics can vary but the colour combination stays the same.
There can be variations brought in wearing sarees as well. Cotton saree can be worn in the morning when there is a lot of sunlight. There are many varieties in cotton as well, for instance, half silk, Tangail's taat, Jamdani etc. These will be amazing to wear during the day.
Tradition of colours, design
In Puja, the tradition of red in clothing as well, as the colour red holds huge significance. For instance, red symbolises the bloodshed of Mahishasura when Durga slays him. Even the colour red is related to sindoor as well. Moreover, the colour white is chosen as it symbolises holiness.
However, during daylight, wearing light jewelry is better. Women can wear flowers in their hair buns or use large bindi. Bangles can be worn. These go well with traditional attires.
On the other hand, teenage girls prefer to wear their dresses with kurtis.
Men can wear punjabis or shirts in the morning to go to mandaps to perform Anjali. Men can also wear dhuti. These days fashion houses have come with different fashionable dresses for the men, a thing that adds colour to the Puja celebration. Men usually wear punjabi or kurta, with toddlers on their shoulders who are aiming to get a better look at the magnificent 'Maa.'
The last three days being the most joyful, hence the men can choose various outfits for each day.
Celebration in mandaps
The festivities culminate with the idol of goddess Durga immersed in the river. In Dhaka the big celebrations are held at Dhakeswari Temple, where a fair is also held and at the Ram Krishna Mission.
Another attraction, which for some seems to be very high on their priority list, is food. The mouthwatering momos, kathi rolls, fuchka, mishti pulao, ghugni, samosa, jilapis --- the list doesn't end easily, and neither do you want it to!
Durga Puja has activities like 'Siddur Khela' and 'Kumari Puja', where little girls are worshipped being perceived as pure as goddesses.
In Dhaka City, Dhakeshwari National Temple, Ramkrishna Mission and Math, Kalabagan, Banani, Shakhari Bazar and Dhaka University Jagannath Hall puja mandaps see the largest number of crowd of devotees.