Article by Mahananda Luitel
The greater Akron Hindu Sewa Samittee (AHSS) organized Durga Puja on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015 at 750 Tallmadge Rd, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. A large crowd of around five hundred people – men and women, old and young, white Americans and people from other religious and cultural backgrounds took part enthusiastically in the function throughout the day. Recitation of Chandi, Holy Scriptures by priests, performing rituals, singing hymns, and dancing were some of the distinctive aspects of the program.
Although the tradition of celebrating Durga Puja is very common among Hindu communities worldwide, the nature of celebration differs from region to region and nation to nation. Every year this festival falls during the lunar months of Asoj or Kartik (September- October). Generally Hindus observe ten days of ceremonies, rituals, fasts and feasts in honor of the supreme mother Goddess, Durga. It begins with the fast of Nava Ratri (nine nights) and ends with the festivities of “Dusshera” or Vijaya Dashami – the triumph of good over the evil -- on the tenth Day. This event marks the defeat and death of the demon king Ravana by Lord Rama in the epic, “Ramayana.”
Vijaya Dashami has social, cultural and religious importance in Hindu communities. In every family, children and grandchildren seek blessings from their parents and grandparents. Even distant relatives visit their close ones during this time. As a tradition and culture, people enjoy playing on swings, getting dressed up in cultural clothing, and eating delicious foods to mark the importance of the day.
Durga Puja, the ceremonial worship of the mother goddess, is one of the most important festivals of India. In addition to being a religious festival for Hindus, it is also an occasion for reunion and rejuvenation, and a celebration of traditional culture and customs. Puja are expressions of honor, worship, and devotion. The Durga Puja rituals include ten days of fast, feast and worship. The last four days are celebrated with much gaiety and grandeur.
The greater Akron Hindu Sewa Samittee (AHSS) is a sister organization of the Bhutanese Community Association of Akron (BCAA). The BCAA is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Its purpose is to facilitate and promote the smooth transition and integration of the people of Bhutanese origin into the general population of the United States of America.