Durga Puja is one of the major festivals for Bengalis, and it’s a festival that has transcended all boundaries. The devotees of the Mahishasura-slaying Goddess may be scattered far and wide, yet even if there is a small group of Bengalis anywhere they will manage a Durga Puja together. Durga Puja has hence acquired its own worldwide flavour. The rituals and ways of celebrating this event may differ significantly from region to region, but the essence stays the same.
We know it’s time for Durga Puja in Kolkata when people start flooding to locations like Gariahat and Esplanade for shopping, local TV stations are filled with Puja-themed ads, schoolchildren have recently finished their examinations, and the beauty of ‘Kaash’ flowers begins to overpower the fields.
Bengalis have an emotion for Durga Puja that is unmatched. Perhaps this is why a Bengali would always try to celebrate Durga Puja in his or her own style, no matter where they live across the globe.
Take for example this group, Tero Parbon, in Belgium. The group of Bengalis started a Durga Puja in Brussels last year with a small idol of Goddess Durga. The objective was to showcase Bengali culture on an international platform and introduce the world to Bengali tradition.
This year, Tero Parbon is all set to celebrate Durga Puja with all its grandeur. They have ordered the Durga idol from Kumartuli, in Kolkata, which is the hub of idol-making, and is a centre for artisans creating breathtaking idols.
Tero Parbon is organising the Puja this year with all its glitz and glamour. To uphold the Bengali tradition, they have also planned to organise a cultural programme that will include music, dance, recitation, and drama, said Dibyendu Mallick from Tero Parbon, adding that the rehearsals are going on in full swing.
Keeping up with the Bengali culture, the group is also arranging traditional Bengali cuisine and a special Bijoya Sammelani as well.
In foreign lands, the festival is usually celebrated over weekends, but Tero Parbon follows all traditions and rituals and celebrates the festival on all four days — Saptami, Ashthami, Navami and Dashami. Mullick said they also organise Saraswati Puja, Bhasa Dibas, Basanta Utsav, and Poila Baishakh among other events.
The programmes organised by the group include seminars and workshops where members and non-members present their knowledge and share information on Bengal’s rich tradition of music, theatre, dance, culinary, and visual arts. “These engaging events provide a venue to showcasing and sharing talent, therefore stimulating young hearts,” Mullick said.
Take a look at how Tero Parbon is preparing for Durga Puja 2022.
Not just Tero Parbon, there are other committees also that celebrate Durga Puja in Brussels. Every year, the Belgium Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samity hosts a Durga Puja in the Belgium capital. They also observe Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja, Rabindra Jayanti, and other festivals.