It is time for a double celebration in Bengal and the eastern part of the country with both Diwali and Kali Puja around the corner. Celebrated widely across the states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam, Kali Puja is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Kali. Kali Puja is also known as Shyama Puja. Many times, both Diwali and Kali Puja fall on the same day, however, this year, Kali Puja will be celebrated on November 6 which coincides with Choti Diwali.
Goddess Kali is one of the most feared goddesses in the Hindu mythology. The ferocious goddess is depicted wearing a garland of skulls, her hair dishevelled, holding the head of a demon on one hand and a sharp weapon on the other. The fierce form of Shakti also happens to be a loving mother to all those who seek her blessings with devotion. Like Durga Puja, Kali Puja also takes place in temple courtyards or pandals. The origins of the massive celebration are often credited to King Krishnachandra of Navadvipa, zamindar of Krishnagar at Nadia in West Bengal, who organised the puja for the public the first time in the late 18th century. Today, it has become one of the most widely-celebrated festivals of Bengal.
The puja rituals are carried out at night. Some devotees even observe a fast, which they break after the puja. Devotees offer her red-coloured hibiscus flower during the puja, it is said to be her favourite. As part of bhog, she is also offered rice, lentils, sweets and fish.
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The day prior to Kali Puja is celebrated as Bhoot Chaturdashi. People light 14 lamps or diyas at home. It is believed that these 14 lamps ward off evil spirits. Some also say that these diyas are lit in remembrance of past 14 generations of ancestors. It's believed that the night before Kali Puja, the spirits of these ancestors descend upon the earth. On Bhoot Chaturdashi, people also eat 14 types of saag or green leaves or choddo shaak. These vegetables are cooked and then eaten by the family together.
Kali Puja timings on November 6, 2018, according to the drikpanchang:
Kali Puja Nishita Time: 11:48 pm to 12:40 am
Duration: 52 Mins
Amavasya Tithi Begins: 10:27 pm on November 6, 2018
Amavasya Tithi Ends: 9:31 pm on November 7, 2018