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Glimpses of Probasi Pujas Around the Globe

Updated on October 27, 2014

Durga Pujas is Spread World-wide

The grandeur and splendour of Bengal’s biggest festival Durga puja have broken all the geographical barriers therefore Bengalis of all the countries and regions have been celebrating the arrival of Goddess of Shakti with same enthusiasm and devotion. It is seen that if there are even ten Bengalis together they will not miss out the chance to celebrate this grand event. Surely they truly say that Bengalis are all about fun and ‘adda’. And Durga puja is the auspicious amalgamation of lot of activities together which simply make it unparallel to the other events.

Places like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai where Bengalis have made their home for long time but haven’t forgotten their traditional roots, get the feel of the advent of puja with beautiful kaash flowers colliding with each other, pleasing smiling sheuli flowers; they get ready in every possible way to welcome Ma Durga. With that these 3-4 days are the perfect time to sport the best look, therefore best dress with best complementary jewelry is in demand. And Sawansukha Jewellers is the unrivalled option to fulfill that requirement during pujas. But, this year they has step into another role to organize Sawansukha Jewellers Shera Alankar, a one of a kind contest which has already generated enough attention.

Cultural Exchange Takes Place on A Global Scale

Not only in India but across the world this celebration of cultural spirit takes the grand shape every year. The celebration catches lots of activities which Bengalis boast. From the ‘chanda’ collection to the pandal construction it is all about lots of fun and frolic. During Durga Puja Ma Durga returns her ancestral home with her four children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya.

Puja organizers gather together with their various ideas to make the pandal look stunning. Also the lighting is the integral part of puja celebrations therefore it gets special attention to have the shimmer. Durga puja is celebration to feature artistry and craftsmanship. Artists of the Bengal go to countries like US, UK, Australia to feature their crafts during the puja. They spend nights and days to get the perfect look. The puja organizers engage artists who are in the business for generations. Nowadays with the help of the flexible communications it has been quite easy to get the right artists and decorators.

Extent of Grandeur is Beyond Imagination

On the day of Maha Shashti, the face of the goddess is unveiled. People throng into the pandals, women get busy in the puja rituals as ‘bodhon’ is performed. On the day Saptami, the ‘Kola Bow’ receives a holy bath before dawn. On this day nine types of plants are worshipped. With that kids are ecstatic about their holidays others are busy with their ‘adda’ as this is the time to meet the dear and near ones. Young people plan their pandal hopping with their friends also their look on different days. On the next day, with the morning puspanjali, probasis celebrate the good’s triumph over buffalo-demon Mahishasura. Another attraction of the day is the kumari puja this ritual is conducted with lot of devotion in the overseas pujas. Sandhi puja on the day of Maha Ashtami connects the day with Maha Nabami.

On the day of maha Nabami, maha ‘arati’ takes place where traditional Bengali food like Khichuri, labra, chutney, begun bhaja, payes are served. In the overseas where people are extremely busy with their work come together to participate in every aspect of the puja. Though they don’t do puja maintaining the right Tithi all the time, but that does not minimize their excitement.

Some Wonderful Elements of Durga Puja

Dhak is an essential part of Durga puja. The young students try to match the steps with Dhaki while doing dhunuchi naach. Young girls and women try their hands in Alpana in front of the idol. Also they cut fruits, arrange flowers in decorative manner. Receiving prasad waiting in the queue is another excitement.

On the last day of the Dashami, when Ma Durga is about to leave with her children everyone is in tears. But they don’t forget to celebrate her ‘Bisarjan’ with equal grandeur and splendour. The married Bengali women indulge into Sindur khela and bid adieu to the goddess with heavy heart. But everyone has the strong hope that she will come back again the next year.

One of a Kind Contest Among the Probasi Pujas

To catch the right mood of the glitz and glamour Sawansukha Jewellers has come up with a contest-Sawansukha Jewellers Sharad Shrestha. Puja is the celebration of the cultural ethos therefore everyone tries to look best. And jewelry is the right tool to enhance the overall look. Teaming up with the right jewelry the traditional or the modern dress can look absolutely gorgeous.

Also not only pandal hoppers, but we make the idol wear beautiful jewelry such as pretty looking earrings, neck-pieces, bangles etc. Overseas pujas such as Bangladesh, UK, North Carolina, Manchester, New Jersey, South California and many others have showcased the beautiful and stunning pujas.


Durga Puja in Bangladesh

Durga Puja is not only celebrated in India but also around the globe which includes our neighbouring country Bangladesh where around 8 % of the population is Hindu. Here are some glimpses of how Durga Puja is celebrated in Bangladesh this year.

History records that grand celebration of Durga Puja in present form began in late 1500s. There are many folk tales about the first Durga Puja in Bengal. Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur organized the first autumn Durga Puja in Bengal.

Durga Puja is the biggest and most important festival for Hindu religion in Bangladesh. This day is grandly observed in Bangladesh. Durga Puja makes bonding of people stronger and also socializes them.

Durga Puja in United Kingdom

The worship of the Mother Goddess is not only limited to Bengal only, but the Bengalis have taken her to all parts of the world where she has been revered by all communities. Bengalis and Assamese from states of West Bengal and Assam (India) migrated to the UK from the early 1960s and contributed as doctors, engineers and skilled work force. They brought with them Ma Durga, and Durga Puja is celebrated all over UK with much gusto and enthusiasm.

From north of UK, to South there are scores of Durga Puja. The celebration includes not only the Bengalis but many other Hindus as well.Amongst the noteworthy Pujas in London, London Sharad Utsav Puja hosted at Ealing Town Hall has attracted London's Bengalis due to the jovial atmosphere, well organized cultural programs by renowned artists, and excellent food arrangements.

Durga Puja in United States of America

Durga Puja symbolizes victory over evil both on a personal level and in society at large. Here are some glimpses of how Durga Puja is celebrated in USA this year. Durga Puja is organized by communities of Indians in the United States. It is observed in all the 50 states.

In some states like New York, New Jersey, California, Texas etc. around 25 to 40 pujas are organized. Some of the notable pujas are: Kallol and Bharat Sevasram in New Jersey; Prabasi at Sun Francisco Bay Area.

Probashi Kundan Sen writes from New York-

"Getting the big box of traditional Indian wear out from the basement, airing them, picking out the best ones from the stack of new panjabis and sarees accumulated over the years for their once-yearly wear. Getting kids dressed up in what they think is costumes. Women in the family put up every piece of jewelry they possess, like a living version of Monihara. Load everyone into the car, get to the puja venue, remember to take the checkbook for "Chanda"

Durga Puja in Europe

In countries like UK, Denmark, Finland in Europe Probasi Bengalis have been celebrated Durga puja with lot of grandeur and splendour. The small Bengali communities come together to organize puja over the weekends.

The puja organized here have the nostalgic feel. Also these pujas showcase the beautiful craftsmanship and artistry of Bengal. The pandals’ decorations themes show the cultural flavours, ethos and rich heritage of Bengal.

Durga Puja is organised by communities of Indians in Europe. Although pandals are not constructed, the sculptures are flown in from Kumartuli in Bengal. The desire by the diaspora peoples to keep in touch with their cultural ties has led to a boom in religious tourism, as well as learning from priests or purohits versed in the rites. From 2006, the immersion of the Durga sculpture has been allowed in the Thames river for the festival which is held in London.

In Germany several Durga Pujas are celebrated along with Bhog distribution and Anjali in Bremen, Berlin (over 40 years old), Frankfurt(Main), Hamburg, Köln (Cologne), Stuttgart and Munich (München).

In France, the Sammilani association has been celebrating Durga Puja in Paris for 28 years (as of 2014), for the whole five days of Mahashashti to Mahadashami. This festival, which includes diverse cultural programmes, is the social epicentre of Bengali Hindus in France and a major attraction for all others interested in Bengali and Indian culture.

Durga puja in Australia

The grand Durga puja has not only been celebrated in Bengal, it has been celebrated with the same magnanimity in other countries. Take example of Melbourne, Australia where every year Probasi Bengalis gather to celebrate Durga puja.

In Australia, the major Durga Puja festival were held in Sydney and Melbourne. They are also held very grandly in Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Bhog Distribution, Cultural Programmes, anjali and dhunuchi naach were the main events.

Durga Puja in Africa

Durga puja is simply the grand celebration of numerous cultural events and rituals of Bengali culture. The arrival of Ma Durga symbolizes the triumph of good powers over evil. This is perfect mixture of activities like buying new clothes new jewelry, seeking elders’ blessings, idols of kumartuli taking proper shapes, bringing Ma Uma home, listening to the grandfathers’ radio on the day of Mahalaya.

This grand event has been celebrated continents like Africa. Take instance of South Africa where Probasi Bengalis celebrate Durga puja with lots of glitz and glamour. Durga puja is perhaps the only occasion when all Bengalis come together to enjoy this cultural event and meet up the dear ones.


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    • CarolynEmerick profile image

      Carolyn Emerick 3 years ago

      Hello! Beautiful article and gorgeous photos! I just love India and I think Hinduism is a fascinating ancient religion. I'm also interested in ancient polytheism that was indigenous to the people of Europe before it was eradicated by militant monotheism, and I have seen some interaction and friendly gestures between European pagan reconstructionist groups and Hindu leaders. So I will be happy to follow you and read more of your future articles! Upvoted and shared with my followers :-)