Volume 5 Issue 35| December 17, 2011|


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The Five Day Long Katyani Puja

Every year Magura jives with the beat of traditional Katyani puja that has over time emerged as the most celebrated festival for the Hindu community in the district. But it is now not confined among the Hindu community only. It has turned into a festival to all the people that call Magura their home. This year, this festival was flooded with thousands of enthusiastic people from Magura and from neighbouring districts.

Hossain Seraj

People from different districts assembled here to enjoy the event especially at night. This year the five-day long Katyani Puja started on November 1 and ended on November 5. This Puja is usually celebrated every year after about one month of Durga Puja.

“If you think that Durga Puja is the greatest religious festival of Bengali-speaking Hindus in Bangladesh, you are in for a great surprise. Strange as it may sound, the Katyani Puja with the passage of time has become the main religious festival of Hindus of Magura district where it is celebrated with more enthusiasm than anywhere else in the sub-continent”, Pankaj Kumar Kundu the convener of Jamrultola Puja Mandap (worship pavilion) proudly informed.

A night view of the entrance gate

Although Katyani has been observed here for the past 61 years, it is only during the last 23 that it has become a festival celebrated with such festivity and religious fervor. It has turned into the largest festival of the district as it is now not confined only within the Hindus here. Now a day, thousands of people irrespective of their religious backgrounds not only assemble to enjoy the festival, but also co-operate with organizing it.

“The festival is the pride and tradition of Magura people and we are glad that people from all religious communities sincerely help us to arrange and observe the occasion peacefully”, president of the Natunbazaar Smriti Sangha Puja Mandap committee, Mihir Lal Kuri, said. This year Katyani Puja was observed at 82 Mandaps in the district, according to the district Puja celebration committee leaders. The idols of Katyani Puja are similar to that of Durga. But in addition an image of Lord Sree Krishna is also placed at the Mandap while observing the Katyani.

Around 300 sculptors were busy making idols at the 82 Mandaps of the district and workers from different decorator houses were also involved in completing artworks for the large and colourful gates at the entrance of the Mandaps and important places to observe Magura's 61 years' traditional festive five-day long Katyani Puja. Artisans, especially idol makers in Magura and adjoining districts, get an additional opportunity of earning extra cash as they find an opportunity to work overtime during the Puja season. “Every year we wait for the Katyani Puja as we not only earn more during this time, but we are also proud of working for Katyani as thousands of people from home and abroad visit our art works”, said Ashit Kumar Paul, an idol maker who hailed from from Koya village under Kumarkhali upazila in Kushtia district. Ashit, who worked at the Mandap at Natun Bazaar area in the town under a Tk 30 thousand contract, added that he brought two other persons from his village to help in making the idols. Binod Paul, who works at the Chhanar-Batala Mandap along with his helping hands also echoed the same sentiment and said that he came there from Belgachhi of Rajbari district under a work deal worth Tk 34 thousand.

Goods sold in the festival is an added attraction
Religious Idols

According to the Hindu Shastra (scripture), Sree Krishna had sent his parents and other family members to the world of the mortals before appearing on Earth during the 'Dapor Era'. During this time milkmaids of Brindaban first started observing the month-long Katyani Puja at the beginning of the Deway season (the Kartik and Agrahayan months of the Bengali calendar) on the bank of river Jamuna, where they made idols similar to the 'Devi Durga'.

During the celebration of the festival, Magura district town and its adjoining areas wore a festive look as important landmarks and Puja Mandaps were illuminated with colored lights. Like every year, in observance of the occasion, a fair had also been arranged that ran for approximately one month this year as well, organizers said.


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