Kali Puja

Kali Puja

Between September and October; new moon day of Kartika
In the region of Bengal, which encompasses eastern India and Bangladesh, many Hindus regularly honor Kali, an earth goddess of fearsome appearance and a symbol of fertility. Special temples devoted to Kali are located in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Kolkatta and Dakshineswar in India; and other locations throughout the region. During the year believers conduct daily pujas (devotional prayers) to Kali, but one particular new-moon day of the year is set aside for a special Kali Puja. This new-moon day, or amavasya, takes place during Kartika, the seventh Bengali month falling between October and November. Kali Puja also coincides with Dewali, a well-known celebration observed by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains in India and other countries.
Kali, like other Hindu deities, assumes many forms. In paintings and sculpture she most commonly bears a dark and violent demeanor and is depicted standing on the chest of her husband, Shiva. (According to Hindu legend, Shiva prostrated himself before Kali in an attempt to pacify her during a killing rampage.) The goddess's fearsomeness is also the source of her strength, which is why during Kali Puja believers make appeals for her protection from harm and ask her to destroy various evils.
Unlike with other festivals, believers will worship Kali at night. Typically, people gather around elaborate pandals (shrines) to the goddess around 9 p.m. Priests will then lead a ceremony, which may involve prayers and sacrifices of animals such as goats, sheep, or buffaloes. Worship may continue until as late as 1 a.m. or 2 a.m.
CONTACTS:
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, National Tourism Organization
233 Airport Rd.
Tejgaon
Dhaka 1215 Bangladesh
www.bangladeshtourism.gov.bd
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The festival of Bhai Phota, generally celebrated on the Dvitya or the second day after the Kali Puja, is a traditional festival and holds a special importance for brothers and sisters.
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