Holidays and Regular Observances

Are any feasts dedicated especially to the goddesses?

Durga Puja, also called Navaratri (“nine nights”), occurs at the autumn equinox in honor of Shiva’s consort Durga. As the slayer of the Buffalo demon (Durgamahishasuramardini) Durga represents the power of good to quell all sources of evil. Devotees celebrate this deity’s complete protection of her worshippers, but Durga’s festival has room for other deities as well. The first day celebrates the goddess Sarasvati, patroness of learning and beauty. In some regions the fifth day belongs to a goddess called Lalita. Bengalis sometimes still sacrifice water buffalo in honor of Durga’s cosmic victory over evil. Another festival, occurring at the end of winter to welcome spring, is called Shri panchami (“Goddess Fifth” day in the bright half of Magha). Devotees honor Sarasvati by piling up books and symbols of learning near local altars. Other days, such as several during the extended feast called Divali, also belong to the major goddesses.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Religion Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App