New Delhi: The festive spirit of Durga Puja has gripped the nation and how! This year, the Pujo festivity began from October 3 and will last till Vijayadashami or Dussehra on the 8th of this month.
The five-day-long festivity of devotion, fun and pandal-hopping also includes many traditional rituals and practices strictly followed by Bengalis across the globe.
Right from Dhaak Beats Sandhi Pujo, Dhanuchi Dance to Sindoor Khela—each and every ancient ritual holds great significance. If you happen to attend the Pujo on the tenth day i.e on Dashami (Vijayadashami or Dussehra), before the mother goddess is prepared for Visarjan, Bengali women play with red colour and the ritual is known as Sindoor Khela as part of her farewell.
Sindoor means red vermillion and Khela refers to play.
After the Visarjan Puja is conducted, the practice known as Devi Baran or Devi Boron begins where married women, dressed in white saree with red border perform goddess Durga's aarti and then apply sindoor over Maa's forehead and feet.
The goddess is also offered sweets and betel leaves.
Then, the women smear sindoor on each other's forehead and that's called Sindoor Khela. They apply the sindoor on each other's Shankha, Pala, Noa, Conc Shell, Coral and Iron bangles worn by the ladies.
After playing with sindoor and smearing each other's face with it, sweets are distributed as prasad. It is believed that if a woman performs Sindoor Khela ritual properly then she will never be a widow.
Sindoor Khela celebrates the power of Durga—a form of Shakti in her married avatar. Just before she prepares to go back to the heavenly abode with her children—Laxmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya—Sindoor Khela hails the spirit of womanhood where women pray for the longevity of their husband and family.