India, a land where different cultures and religions coexist peacefully, offers a list of joyful festivals that keep Indians grooving to the tunes of celebrations all year. Each month, the people of India celebrate a festival, the most popular of which is Diwali or Deepavali. Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, represents the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and happiness over sadness; on this day, Diwali Gifts and Sweets are distributed among people. The best part is that Diwali celebrations differ from region to region in India. However, the essence remains the same, namely, celebrating all of life’s positive aspects.
This day is known as ‘Kali Puja’ in Kolkata and the rest of West Bengal. Kali, an avatar of the Goddess Durga, is revered among Bengalis for her imposing presence. Both devotees and tantric practitioners revere her. People congregate late into the evening at local establishments, usually to feast on a sacrificial goat. Following that, the prayers and rituals begin and continue late into the night. Traditional rangolis made of powdered rice and diyas adorn homes. Fireworks are set off to welcome the Goddess, who represents a dark and dynamic feminine force.
Kali represents the universe in symbolism. The good and the bad, as well as positive and negative forces, exist side by side in the world; even the figure of Kali indicates this. Kharg, she’s holding a severed head and a weapon with blood dripping from it in her left hand. She is blessing her devotees and giving food and grains to the poor with her right hands. She represents both life and death. Shiva, who represents the highest form of life, lies beneath her feet, implying that consciousness is the foundation of the universe.
After Durga Puja, Kali Puja or Shyama Pujo is the second largest festival in Eastern India. According to the Hindu calendar, Kali Puja is celebrated on the new moon night in the month of Kartika and is worshipped as the ultimate destroyer of evil. The day usually coincides with Diwali, the festival of lights. On this day, Rama, the king of Ayodhya, has returned to his kingdom after 14 years in exile after fighting and defeating demons and their king Ravana.
At all of these temples, Kali Puja is performed with utmost devotion following Tantric rituals. Because Kali is a violent manifestation of the female divine power Shakti, priests and organizers take great care to ensure that every ritual is carried out precisely. Devotees fast all day, and after the worship rituals are completed, they offer Anjali or flowers to the Goddess while chanting mantras led by the priest. They only break their fast after this.
What Is Kali Puja?
Kali Puja coincides with the pan-Indian holiday of Diwali. In most parts of the world, Diwali is dedicated to Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. On that day, only three illustrious clans of the Kshatriya caste in Bengal worship Lakshmi. The rest of Bengalis celebrates Lakshmi Puja shortly after Durga Puja. Both use lights and firecrackers to commemorate the triumph of good over evil.
The worship of goddess Kali, another form of Durga, Siva’s consort, is Kali Puja. Kali embodies the feminine energy at its most ferocious and terrifying. She is the only god in Hinduism who requires animal sacrifice. Unsurprisingly, the Tantrics have a strong devotion to Kali. In Bengal, however, she is one of the most popular deities, with ordinary people worshiping her daily. Kali possesses ten troops. She can be black or blue, ugly or pretty, frightening or benign. The majority of Bengalis reveres the benevolent Dakshina Kali. She is shown stepping on her husband, Siva, and sticking out her tongue in humiliation.
Rituals Of Puja
This festival, like Durga Puja, attracts a lot of attention because huge idols, podiums, and flower decorations are made. People pray together and receive Prasad, which consists of Khichdi, Labra, and some veggies, on the communitarian grounds, graced with Kali idols. It is also a great tradition to exchange Diwali gifts or Send Diwali flowers to loved ones.
Preparation for Puja
On this day, Kali puja is celebrated as a societal festival, with pandals, sidewalks, and houses adorned with lights and flowers. Eastern Indian worshippers perform this puja with utmost dedication and worship huge idols of Goddess Kali. Devotees must first coordinate with the Pandit before organizing the puja Samagri by late evening. Before beginning the puja at midnight, the puja materials should be assembled in the puja location.