On Wednesday, it was Mahanabami of Durgotsav or pujo as we Bengalis refer to it in short. I went to check out some puja in the neighborhood with a friend Sudipta and his wife Suvagata. We first went to the Bay Area Durga Utsav Santa Clara, and then to the Paschimi Durga Puja at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds. Both were done quite nicely. The crowds were reasonably large, all dressed up and excited to be there. Pujo is always fun.
Here’s a bit from the wiki:
Nowadays, many diaspora Assamese and Bengali cultural organisations arrange for Durgotsab in countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Singapore and Kuwait, among others. In 2006, a grand Durga Puja ceremony was held in the Great Court of the British Museum.
The prominence of Durga Puja increased gradually during the British Raj in Bengal and erstwhile Assam. After the Hindu reformists identified Durga with India, she became an icon for the Indian independence movement. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the tradition of Baroyari or Community Puja was popularised due to this. After independence, Durga Puja became one of the largest celebrated festivals in the whole world. It is also the largest open Air Art Exhibition in the World.
Happy Vijaydashami. Shubho Bijoya to all.
(See also last year’s entry.)
The image below is from the archives. It’s from a 2009 pujo in Mumbai. Click on the image to embiggen.