Come Sharad Navaratri, and we all get busy with the preparations for a number of major Hindu festivals. One of the biggest celebrations in this festive season is Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava. Yes, it's 'Durga Pujo' time. This year, Durga Puja 2018 dates fall on October 15 to October 19. Durga Puja officially begins with Mahalaya Amavasya, which marks the start of Devi Paksha and the end of Pitru Paksha. Mahalaya in 2018 falls on October 8 just like the mythological legend claims it to take place seven days before Durga Puja celebrations. While Navratri 2018 will start from October 10 and last till October 18, Durga Puja tithi calendar is slightly different. We will take a look at all Durga Puja 2018 dates in Kolkata right from Mahalaya, Maha Panchami, Maha Sasthi, Maha Saptami, Durga Ashtami, Maha Navami, Vijayadashami, Sindur Khela, Sandhi Puja and Durga Visarjan. Navaratri 2018 Dates & Tithi Calendar: Shubh Muhurat & Time for Puja and Aarti During Nine-Day Sharad Navratri Festival.
The annual festival of Durga Puja is associated with grand festivities, big celebrations and happiness all around. Widely celebrated in Kolkata, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Jharkhand and other eastern states, the major festival in Shaktism commemorates in the month of Ashvin as per Hindu calendar, typically September or October of the Gregorian calendar. The festival marks the victory of good over evil and is celebrated in the honour of the epic battle Maa Shakti in the form of Durga won by killing the buffalo demon Mahishasura and restoring Dharma in the world. Durga who is an avatar of Goddess Parvati is the ultimate feminine divine power. She is an epitome of beauty, kindness, affectionate, protective, motherly as well as strength, power and fierce. Devotees pray to Maa Durga to protect them from negativities and evil forces. With Durga Puja 2018 officially beginning with Mahalaya on Monday, here’s a look at the importance and significance of all days during the festival.
1. Mahalaya 2018 Date – October 08 (Monday)
Mahalaya marks the formal beginning of Navratri and Durga Puja festival in Bengali. As per Hindu mythology, Mahalaya is the day when the Maa Durga is believed to have descended to Earth. This year Mahalaya Amavasya in 2018 falls on October 8, Monday. While according to the legend, Goddess Durga along with her children, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartikeya visits the earth for only four days but the auspicious period starts seven days prior to Durga Puja. According to Durgautsav.com, Mahalaya Amavasya tarpan starts at 5:28 am IST on October 8 and is scheduled to end at 5:29 pm the next day on October 9. Mahalaya 2018: Date & Significance of the Day When Pitru Paksha Ends & Goddess Durga Descends On Earth.
2. Maha Panchami 2018 Date – October 14 (Sunday) - Bilva Nimantran
This year Maha Panchami of Sharad Navaratri will be celebrated on 14th October, Sunday. On this day, Bilva Nimantran, the first and foremost ritual of Durga Puja is performed. According to Hindu legends, the most auspicious time to observe this ritual is the evening time or ‘Sanyakaal’. As per Drik Panchang, Bilva Nimantran Shubh Muhurat on Panchami Tithi is between 15:32 to 17:48 with a duration of 2 hours and 16 mins.
3. Maha Sasthi 2018 Date – October 15 (Monday) - Kalparambha, Akal Bodhon and Amantran and Adhivas
Five-day Durga Puja festival will formally begin on October 15, 2018, with Maha Sasthi in West Bengal and other eastern states. Sasthi is the sixth day of Devi Paksha, and on this day various rituals such as Kalparambha, Akal Bodhon and Amantran and Adhivas will be performed. In these rituals, devotees invocate Goddess Durga into their homes. They pray and invite Maa Shakti to dwell into a Bilwa tree or a Kalash. Akal Bodhon is performed during Sanyakal (evening time), and the significance of this ritual is to awaken Goddess Durga before worshipping. As per legends, gods and goddess go to sleep for six months during Dakshiyana and hence Maa Durga has to be awakened before puja ceremony.
4. Maha Saptami 2018 Date – October 16 (Tuesday) - Navpatrika Puja and Kolabou Puja
After the invocation and formally inviting Maa Durga for the festivities, the main puja ceremony will start on Maha Saptami. In 2018, Maha Saptami will fall on October 16, Tuesday. On this day, Navpatrika Puja also spelt as Nabapatrika Puja takes place. This ritual gets its name after Goddess Durga is invoked in a group of nine plants known as Navpatrika (Kadali Patra, Daruhaldi Patra, Haldi Patra, Jayanti Patra, Bael Patra, Anaar Patra, Ashoka Patra, Dhan Patra and Amalatas Patra). In West Bengal, Navpatrika Puja is also called Kolabou Puja. Major rituals of Maha Saptami are – Maha Snan (holy bath), Prana Pratishtha (solemnly dedicate to Durga Maa), Shodashopachar Puja (worshipping Devi Durga with sixteen different puja items) followed by Devi Bhog and Durga Aarti.
5. Durga Ashtami or Maha Ashtami 2018 Date – October 17 (Wednesday) – Kanya Puja, Sandhi Puja
The main day of Durga Puja, Maha Ashtami also known as Durga Ashtami or Maha Durgashtami will be celebrated on October 17, 2018, on Wednesday. Once again, Mahasnan and Shodashopachar Puja are performed. During the puja ceremony, nine Shaktis of Goddess Durga are invoked in nine small pots. Nine forms of Durga ‘Navadurga’ are worshipped.
On Maha Ashtami, Kanya Pujan (also known as Kumari Puja, Kanya Puja or Kumarika Poojan) takes place with girls between two and ten years old are worshipped like Goddess Durga and treated with prasad. Sandhi Puja is also celebrated on this day at the juncture when Ashtami Tithi ends and Navami Tithi starts. It is believed Devi Chamunda killed demons Chand and Munda on this day. Balidan or animal sacrifice is compulsory during this period.
6. Maha Navami 2018 Date – October 18 (Thursday)
Mahanavami is third and final day of Durga Puja in West Bengal. It will take place on October 18, 2018, on Thursday. The puja ceremony will begin with Maha Snan and Shodashopachar Puja. On this day, devotees pray to Durga in the form of Mahishasura Mardini, the one who killed buffalo demon Mahishasura. Some devotees also perform Navami Homa or Chandi Homa to seek the blessing of Goddess Durga.
7. Durga Visarjan, Vijayadashami 2018 Date – October 19 (Friday) – Sindoor Khela
On October 19, Vijayadashami will be celebrated. It epitomises the victory of good over evil. Maa Durga’s triumph over Mahishasura is celebrated, so is Lord Rama’s win over the demon king Ravana. After staying with devotees for days, it is time Maa Durga departs from the earth. Durga Visarjan (immersion of Goddess Durga idols) will take place during aparahan time or pratahkal time on Dashmi tithi. After the Durga Visarjan, another important traditional custom observed on Vijayadashami is Sindur Khela also known as Sindoor Utsav in West Bengal. In this ritual, married women apply vermillion to each other and greet each other Vijayadashami.