We were lucky enough to join the Durga Puja celebrations in Puducherry!
This is a festival where the Hindus honor the many-armed goddess Durga and her defeat over the demon named Maishasura. The festival lasts for 9 or 10 days (depending on where it’s celebrated and by whom). During these days there are loads of events, with the most interesting perhaps being the ritual for what gives the working class and farmers business. A mechanic or a farmer would pray to his tools and a taxi driver would pray to his car. So one of these days one could see cars everywhere, decorated in flowers and their owners blessing them with fire and a few words.
The main event for us, however, was the last day of Durga Puja. We went to the assembly hall, because there is no devoted temple for Durga in Puducherry, where there was made a big statue of the goddes, but allso a few others, such as Ganesha, the elephant headed god.
We had dinner at the place, a bigg meal with loads of delicious, different kinds of east Indian food. And when everyone was full, we watched all the Married women walk in circles along the Idol and one after one go up, “feeding” it with some food throwing leaves and drawing circles aroud it in the air with fire. There was Drumming and after a while the young men and smaller children started dancing in circles. After a few minutes half of our gruop wher joining in! Then all the married women put red pigments in each others faces, laughing and playing with each other. One could safely say that it was a different experience from any thing most of our litle group had encounterd before.
The celebration where not over, we realised. And suddenly we where all shoved in the back of two trucks carrying us in the streets towards the ocean. Everyone where shouting and playing drums and did their best to dance with the little space they had. When we reached the beach it was time to say goodby to Durga, Ganesha and the other gods and we all carried them in to the sea, where they floated away.