durga puja: it’s basically the bengali version of christmas.
everyone buys everyone else presents, you get new fancy-schmancy outfits and you race around under twinkly lights eating a butt-load of food for five glorious days. wait…this is how everyone’s christmas is – right? right?
so i still haven’t figured out all the religious ins and outs of this holiday – 50% because i’m not sure i really care and 50% because i’m still fact finding by way of the americans. (they’re good for so many things.)
but here’s what i’ve gathered: they make large ‘pandals’ (read: highly elaborate temporary giant fort-thingys constructed out of bamboo, glitter and fabric) to house the ‘idols’ – one or several of which are maa durga and her children running away from a lion and potentially an elephant. the devil is mixed in somewhere there too in the form of a man wearing a mustache. naturally.
anyhoo, each pandal has a theme as does each idol-scene.
one of the pandals i visited today was themed with the works of a famous indian artist, another was themed to look like an old castle. all jokes aside, these things are mindblowingly artistic. everything for puja is made without any modern technology – unless you call mud and sticks modern, bitches.
although the idols literally scare the bejesus out of me – they’re an honor to see up close.
here’s a few pics from today’s festivities:
sigh, there’s so much more to tell but i’m getting up at 7 am to go ‘pandal hopping’ with the americans so i’d better get some sleep. yup, what a magical time.