Basanti Puja Dates 2016
Tuesday-Friday 12-15 April
Basanti Puja– as the name suggests- is observed in the season of Spring (Basant is the Hindi name of Spring). This puja is performed in the month of Chaitra in Bengali calendar which corresponds to March-April of English calendar. Basanti Puja is an age old Bengali festival when Goddess Durga is worshiped by Bengali community in Kolkata as well as other parts of India where Bengali families live in large numbers. However, Basanti Durga Puja has lost its utmost importance since the time when Lord Rama is believed to have done untimely Durga Puja in Autumn – the famous Shardiya Durga Puja, celebrated in the Months of Ashwin or Kartik (September-October) at the same time when Navratri is celebrated in other parts of India.
Basanti Puja Dates in 2016
Basanti Puja in 2016 will be celebrated from 12-15 April 2016.
|Basanti Shasthi Puja||Tuesday 12 April|
|Basanti Saptami Puja||Wednesday 13 April|
|Annapurna Puja & Ashtami||Thursday 14 April|
|Basanti Navami Puja & Ramnavami||Friday 15 April|
Origin of Basanti Puja in Bengal
It is believed that King Surath performed the first ever Durga Puja in Spring after getting instructions from Sage Medha. The legend in Markanda Puran states that King Surath had lost his kingdom and wandered in the forests where he met Samadhi Vaishya who also had lost kingdom. In the jungle, they met Medha Muni who on request suggested them to perform Basanti Durga Puja to get back their lost kingdoms. King Surath and Samadhi Vaishya, thus, performed Basanti Puja and got back their kingdoms. This started the ritual of performing Basanti Durga in Basant season or Chaitra Month.
Difference Between Basanti Puja and Shardiya Durga Puja
The difference between the two Durga Pujas- Basanti Puja and Sharadiya Durga Puja- lie in their origin and time of celebration, rituals remain the same. Shardiya Puja is said to have first performed by Lord Rama in Autumn. At that time, Durga Puja was celebrated in Spring after being initiated by King Surath many years back. Lord Rama is believed to have performed ‘Akalbodhan’ (‘Akal’= untimely and ‘Bodhan’= awakening) to seek Goddess Durga’s blessings for defeating Ravana. Since then, due to popularity of lord Rama, his devotees started celebrating Durga Puja in ‘Sharad’ or Autumn season. This relegated Basanti puja to near oblivion. Basanti Puja, however, is still performed in few Bengali households while observing all the ritual of Durga Puja.
Basanti Puja Rituals
The rituals of Basanti Puja are similar to those of Shardiya Durga Puja. The only difference is in the usage of ‘Ghat’ (‘घट’ or ঘট – Kalash- कलश, কলশ or earthern/metal pot) for ‘Bodhan’ (awakening Goddess Durga). The ‘Ghat’ is not used in Sashti puja because this puja is performed on time when it is meant to be done. ‘Akal Bodhan’ or ‘untimely awakening of Durga’ is done on Sashti during Shardiya Durga Puja.
Grand Durga Idols with the idols of Goddessess Saraswati and Lakshmi and idols of Gods Ganesha and Kartik are worshiped on Sashti, Saptami, Ashtami, and Navami. Kumari Puja is also done on Ashtami where little girls are given importance by worshipping them and by offering them a variety of foods, clothes, sweets etc. The Idols are then immersed in water on the day of Dashami. This is called ‘Bisarjan’- a ritual representing farewell to Goddess Durga and her family.