Photo 1: (L-R) Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Durga, Goddess Saraswati and Lord Kartikeya decorated for the 2009 Durga Puja celebrations in Cologne, Germany. Their cropped individual photos in the order of their appearance in the photo are below.
Photo 2: Lord Ganesha
Photo 3: Goddess Lakshmi
Photo 4: Goddess Durga
Photo 5: Goddess Saraswati
Photo 6: Lord Kartikeya (Lord Murugan)
Durga Puja, celebrated about a fortnight ago, brought in reports of celebrations in the rest of the world. So, in retrospect, here are some short notes, apart from the photos above.
Durga Puja is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates the worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga. The date of the celebrations is set according to the traditional Hindu calendar. Durga Puja also includes the worship of Shiva, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati and Kartikeya.
In India, Durga Puja is celebrated on a large scale mainly in the States of West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Orissa and Tripura. It is also celebrated in other states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa and other parts of India where Goddess Durga is worshipped.
Outside India, Durga Puja is celebrated by the Indian diaspora residing in different parts of the world, and others interested in Indian traditions and culture. Some of celebrations of Durga Puja outside India are reported from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Singapore and Kuwait, among others. In the U.K., recently, the immersion of the Durga idol has been permitted in the Thames River for the Durga Puja festival held in London.
In Germany, Durga Puja is celebrated along with Bhog distribution and Anjali in several cities including Cologne (Köln), Berlin, Frankfurt (Frankfurt am Main), Stuttgart, and Munich (München). Durga Puja in Cologne has become one of the most outstanding festivals compared to celebrations in other centers in Germany.
For the participants in the Cologne Durga Pooja celebrations, it is not only an occasion to worship Goddess Durga and other deities, but it also an event to nurture Indian culture, to refresh old memories, and an occasion to renew personal and family contacts. Various cultural events such as dance programs, music, etc. are also held during the celebrations. The Cologne Durga Puja also attracts a large number of Indians living in the neighboring countries such as France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg.
Nepal, with a predominantly majority Hindu population, and Bangladesh, with the second largest Hindu population in the world, celebrate Durga Puja on a grand scale.
In Singapore, the Bengali Association of Singapore (BAS) celebrates Durga Puja with Bhog distribution and Anjali along with cultural programs.