Durga Puja

[ door-guh-poo-juh ]
/ ˈdʊər gə ˈpu dʒə /
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is Durga Puja?

Durga Puja is a major Hindu festival in celebration of the goddess Durga and her victorious battle against the buffalo demon Mahishasura. It occurs in the fall season.

The festival is sometimes also called Navaratri (though observance of Navaratri varies). Sometimes, celebration of Durga Puja is thought to start during the latter half of Navaratri.

Durga Puja is often considered to include the holiday known as Dasehra (or Dasahara or Dussehra). Dasehra can refer to the day after the ninth day of Navaratri—a holiday in celebration of the triumph of good over evil. Dasehra is sometimes considered part of the Navaratri festival (as its 10th day) and the name Dasehra is also sometimes used to refer to the entire festival.

This is why you’ll sometimes see the terms Navaratri, Dasehra, and Durga Puja used interchangeably, even though each one can mean something more specific.

When is Durga Puja?

Durga Puja is sometimes celebrated as a 10-day festival encompassing both Navaratri and Dasehra. Sometimes, though, it’s celebrated as a five-day festival that starts during Navaratri. All of these occasions occur during the Hindu calendar month of Ashvina. Because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar, the corresponding dates change from year to year.

In 2022, Durga Puja takes place from September 26–October 5 (or from October 1–5). In 2023, Durga Puja takes place from October 15–October 24 (or from October 20–24).

More information and context on Durga Puja

In Hinduism, the word puja (pronounced poo-jah) refers to the worship of a particular deity, and Durga Puja literally means “Durga worship.”

Durga Puja is primarily a time of celebration, with festivities including dances, costumed performances, and the burning of effigies.

The festival marks the nine-day battle between Durga and the demon king Mahishasura. In some places, it’s said to celebrate Durga’s journey home to her mother for nine nights of the year.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Durga Puja?

How is Durga Puja discussed in real life?

Durga Puja encompasses both Navaratri and Dasehra, and those names are sometimes used to refer to the festival. In India, it is associated with the fall season and for many it is a time for celebration.



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True or False? 

Durga Puja celebrates the goddess Durga.

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British Dictionary definitions for Durga Puja

Durga Puja
/ (ˌdʊəɡə ˈpuːdʒə) /

another name for Navaratri

Word Origin for Durga Puja

from Sanskrit Durga + puja worship
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012