Kali Puja is an amazing Indian holiday celebrated on October 24th! This day marks the celebration of the tribal goddess, who is believed to protect the people and regions of the state. Join us on a journey into Hindu mythology to learn more!
Kali Puja has been celebrated since the 17th century. It is held on the new moon (Dipannita Amavasya) of the Hindu month of Kartik, usually dedicated to the goddess of happiness Lakshmi. However, in the northeast of India, Kali has eclipsed her.
- In Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati, the festival is held at cremation grounds.
- The goddess Kali was also revered by the great saint of the 19th century, Ramakrishna. He even served as a priest at the Dakshneshwar temple in Kolkata.
- In the images, the leg of the god Kali stands on the chest of Shiva. This symbolises how after defeating the Rakshas demons, the goddess could not stop and began to kill people. Shiva offered himself instead of a sacrifice, causing Kali’s tongue to fall out in surprise – hence her unusual appearance.
- Hindus view death as just a transition to the next rebirth, just as important as a birth or a wedding.
How to take part
During Kali Puja in India’s northeastern states of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Odisha, pandals are constructed. These are temporary pavilions where believers worship clay figurines of the goddess Kali. Many perform this ceremony at home, since the goddess with a necklace of skulls is quite popular in the foothills of the Himalayas.
The goddess is presented with bright red hibiscus flowers. Offerings to the goddess Kali include fruits, rice, lentils, sweets, meat and fish. This originates from the Tantric tradition, where it is customary to eat them during ceremonies. Tantric rites are also an essential part of Kali Puja, although the uninitiated are not allowed to see them. Mantras to the goddess can be heard during this holiday and many adepts plunge into meditation until dawn.
When is Kali Puja celebrated in 2023?