Bengali Association of Madison celebrates
Durga Puja 2009
By Heidi M. Pascual
The worship of Hindu goddess Durga is the largest and most significant
socio-cultural celebration in Bengal. Durga is a form of Devi, a radiant goddess
with 10 arms, carrying weapons, and riding a lion. According to a Hindu
narrative, Durga is a fearless warrior out to fight the demon Mahishasur. and
save the universe. This belief has been carried on since time immemorial and
is celebrated annually for several days.
On September 26, the Bengali Association of Madison held this event at
Badger Ridge Middle School in Verona, Wis., starting with a puja (worship) in
the morning, followed by prasad and lunch. Prasad is traditionally understood
as a gracious gift from the gods, often marked by a mindset of generosity. The
meaning has evolved, however, to include material gift along with that
Giving of oneself through sharing of his/her talent, time and effort in preparing
for the occasion, was the most profound showing of generosity by participants
and organizers of this event.
Photos on this page were taken at the cultural program in the evening,
which highlighted Bengali music. Many of the performers were young children,
and some numbers also showed American influence. It was fun to watch and
listen to a live debate of two children aspiring to be the president of the
association, and performances of little kids whose dance moves or voice
ranges are too tough to beat by adults.
Asian Wisconzine would like to share a poem featured in the program booklet,
composed by Suparna Nath from Milwaukee:
Welcoming Maa Durga
With conch’s powerful sound;
And refreshing essence around,
With garland and flowers;
And thousand petal’s shower,
With mantra and pious fire;
And lavish gorgeous attire,
With vivid vermillion offering;
And jubilation in full swing,
With fruits and savory food;
And creating an amicable mood,
With holy water and sandalwood;
And showing the bond of brotherhood,
With merriment, gay and cheer;
We welcome you, Durga Maa, every year.
Happy Durga Puja to all!