Through his eyes – 19

The Durga Puja festival, worship of Goddess Durga, which is celebrated every year for four consecutive days, sometime between September and October, a time of the year when every blade of grass holds one due drop in the early morning, patches of cotton like clouds drift endlessly in the clear blue sky, is the most important festival for Bengalis. There would be no rain and it would just be the beginning of winter but still not cold. All the schools and colleges remained closed for a month and all the offices remained closed from four days to one week during the festival.

As Durga Puja was popular so was popular few other festivals, organized by locals, who had been living there for generations. One such festival was ‘Charak fair’ also popular by the name ‘Gajan fair’. It was celebrated for one week and there would be thrilling performances like jumping on fire, jumping on sharp knives &C. from an altitude of not less than a three story building high. During the festival locals used to pray by chanting words praising Lord Shiva, the words were not Sanskrit and even though they sounded like Bengali but there were many words which were not Bengali. Children from all families enjoyed the festival even though schools and colleges remained open.

Another festival, which was also celebrated by locals was of a different kind, where trees, mostly very old trees were worshipped and the words that were chanted were neither Sanskrit nor Bengali even though it sounded like Bengali.

During those local festivals many commodities, mostly commonly used household items were being sold which attracted women from all kinds of families.
[To be continued]

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