Durga Puja 2022 date, puja timings: Durga Puja is an annual Hindu festival that is dedicated to Goddess Durga and celebrated predominantly by the Bengali community in India and around the world, and in the eastern part of the country in states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, and of course, West Bengal.
It is a four-day festival which happens on the last four days of the nine-day Navratri festival that is also dedicated to the Goddess. This year, Durga Puja begins on October 1, 2022, with Shashti. Saptami falls on October 2, Ashtami on October 3, Navami on October 4, and finally, Vijaydashami on October 5.
As mentioned earlier, during Durga Puja — also known as Durgotsava — Goddess Durga, who is the consort of Lord Shiva, is worshipped. Hindus believe that the Goddess emerged triumphant after slaying demon Mahishasura, who had argued that he was invincible and immortal, and that a woman could certainly never kill him.
While the festivities begin with Maha Shashti, the preparations start much earlier with Mahalaya, the last day of the dark fortnight (Krishnapaksha) of Ashvin month, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. During Durga Puja, the Goddess is said to visit her ‘paternal home’ on Earth with her children Lord Ganesh, Lord Kartik, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati.
Ghatasthapana is one of the most significant rituals. It marks the beginning of the festivity.
Durga Puja is also a cultural extravaganza during which Bengalis fast in the morning and feast at night. Various food stalls serving authentic Bengali cuisine are set up around puja pandals. Inside the pandal, one is expected to stay vegetarian, especially if they are taking part in the veneration activities and the various ceremonies that happen in front of the idols.
Besides that, the special ‘bhog‘ served to the Goddess is always vegetarian, featuring delectable khichdi, some fritters, a mixed vegetable sabji, tomato chutney, among others.
Dance, music, recitation, arts and some light sports activities are also planned in the four days of the festival, during which people wear new clothes and look their best.