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Kolkata women perform vermillion ceremony to end Durga Puja festival.

Kolkata, Oct.6 (ANI): Married women in Kolkata performed the sindoor (vermillion powder) ceremony at the end of the Durga Puja festival on Thursday.

The ceremony is a farewell ritual for Goddess Durga. Married women enthusiastically participated in the ceremony on this occasion and wished for each other's happiness.

"Today is Maha Dashmi (Dussehra) and vermillion is mainly the symbol of love and best wishes from mother to daughter. So, when Goddess Durga comes to visit her parental house and when she is about to leave her house, then it is her mother who gives her vermillion as a symbol of love and best wishes, so that she can have a better life in the future, for her better life and better prospects. So, these are the best wishes. So, when our daughter, mother when she is leaving the house, as a symbol of love, we are giving her the best wishes in this way and playing vermilion is just an expression of happiness, expression of prosperity," said Paromita Chaudhary, a devotee.

It is said that the goddess makes her annual visit during Durga Puja and the festivities are meant to welcome her. On the last day, devotees bid farewell by performing vermilion ceremony, which takes place before the immersion of idol of Durga in the river.

"I am feeling very bad today because we wait for these four days throughout the year. We are hopeful that she will take with her all our sorrows. We are also hopeful that she leaves behind happiness and will bless and we will live with those blessings throughout the year," said Sushmita Majumdar, another devotee.

Durga Puja is one of India's most famous festivals. Legend has it that 'Asuras' or demons from the underworld invaded the heavens after a hundred years of war with the gods.

The Hindu trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu created Goddess Durga, the most powerful of all gods and goddesses to vanquish the demons, hence the term 'Durga Puja' which means worshipping the Goddess.

On this occasion, homes are re-painted and decorated to 'receive' the goddess. Small idols of the goddess are also installed to worship her.

In Bengal and neighbouring states, the festival culminates with the immersion of the Durga idols into the nearest water bodies like the village ponds, rivers and even the sea. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Oct 6, 2011
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