The much-awaited auspicious festival of Durga Puja is about to begin from October 22, 2020. The biggest festival across the globe coincides with a 9-day long Navratri festivity which is also dedicated to Maa Durga and her different avatars.
However, celebrations this year are low-key because of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak which has affected people worldwide. Social distancing, wearing masks, gloves, and proper sanitization is the need of the hour to keep the virus at bay. The state government has also issued specific guidelines for the celebration of Durga Puja.
Coming back to the 5-day festival of Durga Puja, it usually begins six days after Mahalaya but this year it is different due to mala maas – lunar month having two moons. This year, Mahalaya, which is the beginning of the Devi Paksha and end of the Pitru Paksha took place on September 17 and Durga Puja starts from October 22.
As per the Assamese calendar, the mala maas this time started in the Ashvin month and Durga Puja will begin only after it ends as auspicious occasions or rituals are not observed during this time period.
It is believed that goddess Durga arrives on earth on the day of Mahalaya. The 5-day Durga Puja festivity, widely celebrated across the globe, is a major festival of Assamese and Bengalis.
Durga Puja is also known as Durgotsav wherein Goddess Durga is welcomed by the devotees and preparations for the 5-day festivity begins much in advance. People immerse themselves in devotion, enjoy the fun and pandal-hopping remains a highlight beside many traditional rituals.
However, this year, due to the global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Durga Puja pandals will witness fewer people in attendance as state-wise SOPs are in order. Also, social distancing needs to be practised while pandal-hopping during Durga Puja.