Durga Puja, also called Durgotsava, is an annual Hindu festival in the Indian subcontinent that reveres the goddess Durga. Durga Puja is believed to be the greatest festival of the Bengali People. It is particularly popular in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Bangladesh and the diaspora from this region, and also in Nepal where it is called Dashain. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, typically September or October of the Gregorian calendar, and is a multi-day festival that features elaborate temple and stage decorations (pandals), scripture recitation, performance arts, revelry, and processions. It is a major festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism across India and Shakta Hindu diaspora. Durga Puja festival marks the battle of goddess Durga with the shape-shifting, deceptive and powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious. Thus, the festival epitomises the victory of Good over Evil, but it also is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation. The Durga Puja festival dates coincide with Vijayadashami (Dussehra) observed by other traditions of Hinduism, where the Ram Lila is enacted, victory of Rama is marked and effigies of demon Ravana are burnt instead. The primary goddess revered during Durga Puja is Durga, but her stage and celebrations feature other major deities of Hinduism such as goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth, prosperity), Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and music), Ganesha (god of good beginnings) and Kartikeya (god of war). The latter two are considered to be children of Durga (Parvati).
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