Friday, September 03, 2004

Durga Puja: Festival for victory of good over evil

In the state of Tamil Nadu, they have Navararatri celebrations. Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth and prosperity) is worshipped for the first three days. The next following three days are dedicated to Saraswati, Goddess of learning, and the final three days to Shakti (Durga).

In this state, a pot container made of either brass or silver is decorated with mango leaves and coconut and smeared with turmeric and vermilion (kumkum). This container, which is known as Kalasam, is the object of worship here. Goddess Durga has also several names like Annapoorani, Gajalakshmi, Meenakshi, Tripurasundari, Kali etc. The idols of the Goddess Durga are taken round in procession around the temples. Married ladies recite Lalitha Sahasranamam to invoke the Goddess. This puja is done to gain prosperity and well-being of the family through the blessings of Goddess Durga.

Ayudha pooja is performed on the eight or ninth day of Dasera in South India. Owners of organizations and shops worship their machines or equipments, while other people perform pujas to their most prized possessions.

In most of the houses on the eighth day prayers are offered to Goddess Saraswathi, the Goddess of learning. Books of children are placed next to the deity in the hope that the goddess will bless them with knowledge.

Vijayadasami day is considered auspicious to begin new ventures in areas such as business, education, travel and so on. During the festivities, women are dressed in Kancheepuram saris. They also wear jewellery with jasmines flowers. Soondal (cooked pulses) is the most popular dish made during this festival.

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