Significance of Kali Pooja in Bengal, Kali Puja in Diwali

Kali Pooja is one of the most popular religious festivals in West Bengal for the Hindu Bengalis, celebrations for which draw attention of people from other communities also. The Hindu festival of Kali Pooja in West Bengal is marked by the lighting of diyas across all the Bengali households for casting away the shadow of the evil from the households, worship of goddess Kali being the most important event in the night of Kali Pooja. 
Kali Puja


Pooja Day
Temples across the state of West Bengal draw large gatherings and crowds since morning, especially the famous temples at Kalighat and Dakshineswar. The Diwali celebrations in West Bengal are accompanied by the festivities of Kali Pooja as the two festivals coincide most of the time, Diwali also being at times followed by Kali Pooja. The New Moon Day in the Hindu month of Kartik is signified by the worship of goddess Lakshmi during the celebrations of Diwali all across India. Kali Pooja, also known as Shyama Pooja, is performed on this day by the Bengali, Assamese and Oriya Hindus. 

Kali Puja Ceebrations


History
In the 18th century Raja Krishnachandra, king of Navadvipa, began celebrating Kali Pooja in Bengal. Regard for Kali Pooja increased during the 19th century as Ishvarchandra, grandson of Raja Krishnachandra, propagated the tradition of Kali Pooja in West Bengal along with the influential people of the Bengali community. This festival of Kali Pooja started to be sponsored by the affluent property-owners with fervor and zeal in Bengal. Apart from Kali Pooja, Durga Pooja is one of the mostly celebrated religious festivals in West Bengal by the Bengali community.

Celebrations and traditions
Clay images of goddess Kali are worshipped in the pandals, which are the open exhibition areas where the idols of goddess Kali are displayed for public viewing. Images of Bamakhepa and Ramakrishna, who were ardent devotees of goddess Kali, as well as the idol of Shiva, companion of goddess Kali, are also exhibited in the pandals, where people gather from near and far. Idols of Kali are also venerated in many of the Bengali households. In the night of Kali Pooja in Bengal mantras are uttered and the Tantric rituals are performed to revere goddess Kali. Red hibiscus flowers are integral to the worship of Kali, which are offered by the devotees at the feet of the clay idols of Kali. Nightlong meditation and worship of the goddess is considered to be essential as a part of the entire ritual. Animal sacrifice is another important part of the customs that are associated with the worship of Kali during the festival of Kali Pooja.

Image source: www.punjabigraphics.com; ojoswibasu.blogspot.com

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