The Bengali fragrance of festivities
India is a country of diversity, packed with a number of vibrant cultures and several ethnicities. I happen to come from one of the most colorful, cheery and intellectual ethnicities India boasts of. The Bengalis are known for their warmth and generosity. Even today, Kolkata remains the ‘City of joy’ and the ‘City with a soul’. Among the fast paced lives we all lead we manage to collect ample time to indulge in extravagant festivities. Our festive seasons come and go like the yellow ambassador cabs, capturing the hearts of everyone and leaving them wanting for more. “Baro mashe tero parbon” (13 kinds of festivals in twelve months), is the motto that drives every Bengali soul through the daily tantrums of life and works. The festivities bring out the fun loving nature of the Bengalis and among the several ornate festivals that are celebrated, Durga puja stands in its own splendor and glory. The festival commemorates the homecoming of Devi Durga and her children. Several folktales are associated with this festival as this actually marks the victory of good over evil as Maa Durga slays the notorious Mahisasura to restore peace in the heavenly abode of Indra. But with time the goddess was associated with her children, Karthik, Ganesha, Lakshmi and Saraswati, who comes along Durga to spend some days in the mortal world. And along with her comes 5 amazing days of fun, frolic and excitement when the whole city of Kolkata decks up in the brightest colors and incredible pandals crafted to please one’s soul. The incredible smell of various cuisines and of course the famous array of street food like phuchka, bhelpuri and papri chat can make everyone drool. These 5 days every single person dresses up in their finest clothes and the fashion week of any renowned label will feel shy of such a lovely line up.
But these days drift away in a jiffy bringing everyone back to the same mundane lifestyle they detest. The festival is like a breath of fresh air and every Bengali heart starts swaying from the beat of the dhaak and the tuneful chanting of the Mahalaya. Festivals occupy a huge part of any Bengali. Be it a fair or a religious ceremony, we make every bit of the festivities worthwhile. Even when the Durga Puja ends, we continue our celebrations till Kali Puja and also Christmas. The Bengali spirit is extremely merry and frolicsome. We welcome anyone to our city and help them make it their home. The easiness of every Bengali will never let anyone feel homesick because as a cure to that, Kolkata will always be ready to soothe you with hot “hing-er kochuri” and a cup of steaming elaichi chai.