Deepavali Celebrations at Durgabari


By Jaya Ghosh

HOUSTON: Houston’s enthusiastic Bengali community celebrated Kali Puja along with deepavali at Houston Durgabari on November 1 and 2, with great devotion and joy.

 Kali Puja celebration is the second most important festival after Durga Puja among Bengalis all over the world and celebrated usually on the Amavasya or the no moon night in the Hindu month of Kartik /November. This date of Kali Puja coincides with Diwali.


Interestingly, on the occasion of Diwali, all India worships goddesses Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, while the Bengalis, Oriyas and Assamese celebrate Kali Puja by lighting lamps in honor of Goddess Kali. According to Hindu mythology Goddess Kali is the first of the ten incarnations of Goddess Durga.  The image of Kali usually shows her foot on Lord Shiva’s chest, a severed head in one hand, her sword in the other and wearing a garland of skulls.


This year celebration of Deepavali and Kalipuja at Durgabari consists of two days of fun, food, fireworks and religious activities. The dazzling diyas, magnificent lights, colorful rangolis, fantastic fireworks and beautiful music with charming ladies dressed with gorgeous jewelry and sarees created a festival setting all over Durgabari. Under the able guidance of Subrata Dasgupta and his team of hardworking volunteers decorated the whole Durgabari compound with dazzling lights and artistic decorations brought an esthetic look to the whole ambience of kali puja in Houston.


This year the festivities started with colorful cultural programs on Friday evening. Audience was entertained by two captivating programs performed by kids and community members. A beautifully narrated play based on fairy tales ‘Alice in wonderland’, wonderfully enacted by the cute kids of our community awed everyone in the auditorium! Narrator and director Debleena and Raja Banga’s awesome voice expression added an extra beauty to the play. This was followed by a musical dance drama “samannoy’…unity through peace and harmony, beautifully presented by the local artists, kids and ladies entertained the crowd thoroughly.

Next day celebration started with puja in the morning with puspanjali, bhog, Arati, Prasad and lunch distribution.  Kids enjoyed fireworks and   haunted house in the evening. Dr. Bishnupada Goswami performed Kali puja maintaining all the rituals from Hawan, puspanjali, ceremonial bolidan to bhog and Arati on Saturday evening. Devoted ladies in the temple kitchen prepared nice bhog for Ma Kali. After Puja, people enjoyed scrumptious dinner made fresh by the dedicated volunteer like Bani, Partha, Pradip, Rajiv and team. People enjoyed the skit and a Bengali play ‘okal valentine’ performed by the community members after dinner. Although the play was a bit lengthy but audience enjoyed the acting and light humor in a festive mood. Pijush, Partha, Shantanu, Anindya, Abhijit, Nirmalya, Dibendu, Dipankar, Ron, Sudip,Mita,Dipayan,Koushik and others worked hard with lots of dedication to make this event successful. Under the able leadership of Soova Sen and Dipthbhas Sarkar this year kalipujo celebration brought all the goodness of light, eradicating the darkness of bad in our community.

Kali is worshiped as the Mother Goddess who is known to destroy all evil. In each legend, myth and story of Deepawali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil. The light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, which brings us closer to divinity.