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Mahashtami: Another intriguing shade of the days-long devotion fest

Another important ritual of Mahashtami is the ‘Kumari Puja’. An young girl, of pre-puberty age, is worshipped as the living incarnation of Devi Durga.

Debanjana Banerjee | Kolkata |

The greatest festival of Bengal is Durga Puja. Among the days of Puja, Ashtami, also known as Mahashtami, is the most important day for the Bengalis.

On this day, everyone wears the best dress among all the new dresses they have bought. People prefer wearing ethnic dresses on this day. Generally females are seen wearing sarees and salwar suits while men wear kurtas, paired with dhotis or pants. The Bengalis deck up most prettily for Ashtami.

The Ashtami morning begins with an early morning alarm. After waking up, people take baths and get ready to go to the pandals for Pushpanjali (offering flowers to the Devi). Prasadam is distributed after Pushpanjali.

Ashtami is the day for meeting friends and neighbours. After the Pushpanjali and having the Prasadam, the devotees sit with their near ones in the pandals for chatting (called adda in Bengali).

Another important ritual of Mahashtami is the ‘Kumari Puja’. An young girl, of pre-puberty age, is worshipped as the living incarnation of Devi Durga. This tradition is not followed in every pandal. Belur Math is one the many places where “Kumari Puja’ takes place every year.

Mahashtami is and always be the heart of the festival.