Diwali Celebrations in West Bengal
Diwali Celebrations in West Bengal: Diwali is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness and lifting of spiritual darkness. It is a major Hindu festival celebrates in the months of October and November on the new moon day every year. Rituals of Diwali and Kali Pooja makes Diwali celebrations in West Bengal unique. Diwali celebrations in West Bengal last for three days. On new moon day, Goddess Kali is the aggressive form of Goddess Durga. The destructive incarnation of Goddess Durga is Kali, has a frightening look, and has the power to destroy all evils. People light up lamps in honor of Kali who promises to renew life and justice in return.
History of West Bengal’s Diwali:
The first two days of the festival are important with feasting, drinking, family gatherings, lights and firecrackers from morning to night is the normal routine. In West Bengal, it is Kali pooja which makes the festival unique. Kali Pooja is also familiar as Shyama Pooja and Mahanisha Pooja. The tradition of worshipping Goddess Kali is not very old. Before this, Diwali celebrations in West Bengal were similar to what it was in rest of the nation. Later in the 17th century, Kalika Mangalkavya by Balram which is a religious text devoted to Goddess Kali was discovered.
It is an annual festival dedicates to Goddess Kali each year. The tradition was started during the 18th century by King Krishnachandra of Nawadeep. He gave an order that everyone in his domain should worship Kali, and later carried on by his grandson Ishwarachandra to worship Goddess Kali on Diwali. Kali appears in various forms as an embodiment of power, the eternal energy. She is also the Goddess of black magic. Using the powerful imaginary sculptures, paintings, writings the celebration of Kali Pooja explores and illuminates the rich meaning of feminine divinity.
Rituals of Diwali in West Bengal:
Kali Pooja’s rituals are simple and plain. Devotees offer pure wine as a bhog to Goddess Kali. The main pooja starts at midnight and longs till dawn. Devotees from all over the state cluster Kali temples everywhere. Kali pooja pandals are there all around the city as devotees visit the closest ones. People will clean their houses, decorates with flowers and lit up with diyas. The entry of the house or property decorates with two or four plantain leaves with a row of diyas at the doorstep. In West Bengal, the pious festive air and not the material goods mainly mark the event. No new clothes, new gold, nothing new at all on Diwali day, as all shops are shut except selling sweets, Diwali Recipes, and firecrackers. Gifts are related to sweets and dry fruits.