The five-day Durga Puja, the largest festival of the Hindu community, comes to an end Wednesday with the solemn immersion of the Goddess Durga across the country.
And after the hit that Bangladesh’s secular credentials, or its reputation for communal harmony, took during the same festival last year – with temples and Puja mandaps attacked in multiple districts, all triggered by a deliberate act of provocation in Cumilla – it is safe to say the entire country will feel relieved that this year’s Durga Puja will have passed without much incident. Fingers crossed of course, for the last 24 hours.
Devotees will throng Puja mandaps to celebrate Bijoya Dashami, the last day of the festival, recite the mantras, offer flowers to the goddess Durga (pushpanjali) and pray for her blessings.
The mandaps across the country have been decorated with beautiful idols, showcasing the goddess in all her glory.
Bijoya Dashami is the special ceremony of reaffirming peace and good relations among people.
On this day, families visit each other to share sweetmeats. Married Hindu women put vermilion on each other’s foreheads on the occasion.
In Bangladesh this year, the religious festival is being celebrated at some 32,168 puja mandaps spread throughout the country, including 241 in capital Dhaka.
In the capital, thousands of people are set to throng the Buriganga tomorrow to observe the final phase of the festival — the immersion of the goddess Durga signifying her return to Kailash.
Devotees in their tearful eyes will bid farewell to the mother deity and her children – Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh – through the immersion of their idols in the water wishing Durga’s return next year.
Meanwhile, there will be strict security measures in place so that Durga Puja ends peacefully.
President Abdul Hamid has issued a message greeting the members of the country’s Hindu community on the occasion.
In his message, President Hamid said the main religious festival of the Bengali Hindu community is Durga Puja. The country’s Hindu community has been celebrating the puja amid huge enthusiasm and festivity with different rituals since ancient times.
Durga Puja is not just a religious festival, but also a social one, he added.
“Communal harmony is the eternal tradition of Bengalis. This tradition must be carried forward in our overall progress together,” he urged all.
The five-day festival started on October 1 with the incarnation (Bodhon) of the Goddess Durga marking Sashthi.
Durga Puja, the annual Hindu festival also known as Sharadaya (autumnal) Durgotsob, is the worship of “Shakti” [divine force] embodied in goddess Durga.
It symbolises the battle between good and evil where the dark forces eventually succumb to the divine.
Close to 8 percent of Bangladesh’s more than 160 million people are Hindu.
Source: United News of Bangladesh