Durga puja 2021: Know about Sindoor Khela and significance of Dashami ritual

Vijaya Dashami is the last day of the festival, and hence a earnest occasion when Ma Durga is bid adieu for a year

Durga Puja is one of the biggest festival for Bengalis which last for five days.
 
Vijaya Dashami is the last day of the festival, and hence a earnest occasion when Ma Durga is bid adieu for a year.
 
However,  it’s a day when people feel emotional and melancholy scenes can be seen at almost all of the pandals, there is a special group of people who religiously wait for the day and those are obvious the womenfolk.
 
After the  ‘ghat visarjan’, a symbolic immersion of Ma Durga declaring the end of the Puja rituals, women apply vermillion or commonly called Sindur, on the forehead and the feet of Ma and offer sweets to her.
 
After that begins the traditional ceremony of Sindoor Khela, when they apply sindoor on the feet of the older women among them and then on each other’s faces.
 
Sindoor Khela, or Sidur Khela, literally means  a game of vermillion game or Vermillion game and is celebrated widely by Bengali Hindu women.
 
This ritual is  traditionally meant for married women who follows a set custom and protocols while playing Sindoor Khela.
The married  women believes that this will bring good luck to them and long life for their spouse.
 
Bengali married women dresses in an all white sarees with red borders, then first perform Devi Baran, bidding farewell to Ma Durga.
 
It is then followed by a Maha arati and then apply sindoor on the forehead and feet of Ma Durga.
 
Then, the  women  apply sindoor on each other’s forehead and the parting of their hair, followed by shankha, pola and noa (the three bangles made of conch shells, coral and iron, respectively, that signifies women’s marital status in Bengal).
 
Although it is not clear when and where did the Sindoor Khela tradition actually originate, but people believe that the tradition is as old as the festival of Durga Puja itself.
 
This ritual has always been meant only for married women with a living husband. Young girls, women who never married, and widows were not allowed to be part of this celebration of matrimony and sisterhood.
 
The age-old tradition has now started witnessing a change ik Bengal. In the capital city, Kolkata and other regions, many pandals have started inviting all women, irrespective of their marital status, to be part of this joyful tradition.

Nistha Jain

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