Durga Puja is a very important festival in India. It is celebrated by the Hindus all over the country, especially in Bengal. It begins on the 16th day of the month of Ashwin, and lasts for about ten days. During these days, Goddess Durga is worshipped with great devotion and piety.
There are many stories on the origin of Durga Puja. It is believed that Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga when he went to fight with Ravana, and he was successful in killing him. It is also believed that Durga Ma, as she is often called, killed Mahishasur, a dreaded demon, on the twenty-fifth day of Ashwin.
During the Puja, beautiful images of Goddess Durga are installed at many places. The images are lovingly decorated with shining ornaments, and people dance and sing in front of them. The Goddess is shown to have ten arms, and she holds a weapon in each arm symbolizing strength and justice.
People wear new clothes. Gifts are exchanged amongst family and friends. Plays, dance-dramas and other entertainment programmes are held. Several competitions are also held during this time.
In the evening, the images of the Goddess are immersed in a river. This is one religious festival that devotees eagerly await for each year.