When Is Durga Puja in 2020, 2021 and 2022?
Durga Puja is celebrated during the end of Navaratri and Dussehra. It begins on Shasthi and concludes on Dashami, when the Durga idols are carried out in grand procession and immersed in the river or other water bodies. The dates are determined according to the lunar cycle of the moon.
- In 2020, Durga Puja dates are October 22-26.
- In 2021, Durga Puja dates are October 11-15.
- In 2022, Durga Puja dates are October 1-5.
Another notable date, before the start of Durga Puja, is Mahalaya. On this day, Goddess Durga is invited to come to Earth, and the eyes are drawn on the idols of the goddess. Mahalaya is normally observed about a week before Durga Puja. However, in 2020, it falls on September 17 -- an unprecedented 35 days before the start of the festival. This is due to a rare astrological phenomenon known as mala mash, which is a lunar month with two new moons. It's regarded as inauspicious to perform religious rites and rituals during such a month.
Durga Puja Dates Detailed Information
The main celebrations occur across five consecutive days: Shasthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Dashami. The dates as per the Bengali calendar are as follows.
- Shasthi (October 22, 2020) is when Goddess Durga descends to earth with her four children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartikeya and Ganesh. The colorful idols of the goddess that have been handcrafted and installed for the festival are unveiled on this day.
- Saptami (October 23, 2020), the first day of Durga Puja, is when the holy presence of Goddess Durga is invoked into the idols in a ritual called Pran Pratisthan. The day commences with the Kola Bou bath -- a banana tree is bathed before dawn in a river or body of water, dressed in a sari like a newlywed bride (known as "Kola Bou", the banana bride), and used to transport the goddess's energy. Nine different types of plants are worshiped, representing the nine divine forms of Goddess Durga.
- Ashtami (October 24, 2020) is the most significant day of Durga Puja. The goddess is worshiped in the form of a young unmarried virgin girl, adorned as Goddess Durga, in a ritual called the Kumari Puja. In the evening, the important Sandhi Puja is done to worship Goddess Durga in her Chamunda form, which slayed the two accomplices of buffalo demon Mahishasura -- Chanda and Munda -- during her battle to kill the demon. The puja is carried out at the time the slaying took place. After the rituals are complete, the Dhunuchi folk dance is performed in front of the Goddess to please her.
- Navami (October 25, 2020) is the last day of worship, which concludes with a maha aarti (great fire ceremony) to mark the end of the rituals and prayers. Goddess Durga is believed to have killed the buffalo demon Mahishasura on this day, and she's worshiped in the form of Mahisasuramardini, the Annihilator of the Buffalo Demon. Everyone gets dressed up in their finest, most glamorous clothes. The goddess's favorite bhog (food) is prepared and offered to her, and then distributed to devotees.
- Dashami (October 26, 2020) is when Goddess Durga returns to her husband's abode and the idols are taken for immersion. Married women offer red vermilion powder to the Goddess and smear themselves with it (this powder denotes the status of marriage, and hence fertility and bearing of children). After the immersion, people visit their relatives and friends to give and receive blessings. Sweets are distributed and lavish dinners shared. The dress code for the day is traditional and classic. In 2020, most states in India will celebrate Dashami on October 25. However, falls a day later in Kolkata and West Bengal this year.