Durga Puja has been one of the most important Hindu festivals since time immemorial. Today, Durga Puja is celebrated on a grand scale by innumerable devotees all over the country. 'Mata Durga' is worshipped on a grand scale and her idols are consecrated. The idol of 'Durga Maa' is elaborately adorned with magnificent jewelery and embroidered saris. Prayers are offered and rituals are performed to honor the Goddess Durga. People also observe fast during the puja as part of the rituals. The custom of fasting during Durga puja has been followed for centuries with complete sincerity and devotion. There are many devotees who fast during 'Navaratri' (9 days) every year. The fast is observed to please Goddess Durga and to seek her blessings. There are different methods of fasting, followed by different people, but the purpose is the same for all, which is seeking the blessings of goddess Durga. Read further to learn about the significance of fasting during the holy occasion of Durga puja.
Significance of Fasting
Fasting is the act of refraining from having food and liquids for a period of time. Fasting brings about a spiritual awareness and is recognized as a technique to practice self-control. Not having food and water for a period, is the first stage to self-control. With the process of fasting, one also disciplines the mind. Fasting also helps to give rest to the physiological functions of the body.
Fasting During Durga Puja
To please the goddess and to seek blessings from Maa Durga, many people keep fast during Durga puja. This traditional ritual of fasting is observed to honor the Devi for her triumph over evil. During the time of fast, the devotee should be in a state of penance and put all the worldly pleasures behind. Chanting the 40 verses of the 'Durga Chalisa' and reciting the 108 names of 'Durga Devi', enables the devotee to concentrate and meditate.
Fasting Rituals During Durga Puja
The devotee must rise early in the morning, bathe, wear new clothes and then offer prayers to 'Durga Mata'. Many ways of fasting are followed during the Durga puja. One tradition, allows the devotees to have only milk and fruits during the entire day. Another tradition allows devotees to have only one meal a day. Young girls or 'Kumarikas' are given food and gifts by those who observe fast, as part of the ritual on the day of Durga puja. Alcohol and non-vegetarian food is forbidden while fasting. Generally, only 8 to 12 hours of fasting is observed during the puja.
Fasting is an important part of the auspicious festival of Durga Puja, observed by most devout followers. It is believed that the 'Devi' bestows her blessings and fulfills the wishes of those who observe the fast during Durga Puja.