Date, timing and tithi of the festival
Basanti Puja, also known as Chaitra Durga Puja, is a traditional Hindu festival observed during the Chaitra Navratri. In 2023, the festival will take place between March 30 and April 7. This festival is a way for devotees to offer prayers to the Goddess Durga and ask for her divine blessings. Basanti Puja is an important part of Vedic astrology and is seen as a way to bring good luck and prosperity.
The Mother Goddess is revered in India’s North and Western parts for nine days, beginning from Chaitra Shukla Paksha Pratipada. According to Vedic astrology, this festival is celebrated to honour the divine feminine energy and is a time of joy and celebration. It is an important festival celebrated in the eastern states of India, particularly in Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, and Jharkhand.
Shukla Paksha of Chaitra.
- Basanti Puja Shashti 2023 – March 27, Monday, 5:46 pm
- (Adhibas) Basanti Puja Saptami 2023 – March 28 Tuesday within 9:42 am Nabo Patrika, Night 11:19pm-12:07am (Basanti Durga Puja)
- Basanti Puja Astami 2023 – March 29 Wednesday within 9:41 am (Sandhi Puja from 9:55 pm to 10:44 pm and Sacrifice after 10/19 pm last night)
- Basanti Puja Nabami 2023 – 30 March Thursday within 9:40am (Nabami Puja)
- Basanti Puja Dashami 2023 – 31 March Friday within 9:41am (Dashami/Bisarjon Puja)
Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Bengalis. It is celebrated on the auspicious days of Ashwin or Chaitra every year. The Durga Puja in the month of Ashwin is known as Shardiya Puja and the one in the month of Chaitra is known as Basanti Puja. Shardiya Puja is celebrated widely, while Basanti Puja is usually celebrated by only a few families. Goddess Durga is worshipped for nine days during Navratri, which comes four times a year. Both the Autumn Navratri and Spring Navratri are celebrated across India. The timing of the Navratri celebrations is determined by the position of the sun and the moon. In Bengal, the Autumn Navratri is celebrated as Durga Pujo from the sixth to the tenth day, and the Spring Navratri is celebrated as Basanti Pujo.
Durga Puja is an ancient Hindu festival that dates back to the Vedic period. It is now known as Basanti Puja and is believed to be the original form of the festival. Akal Bodhan, which is the more widely celebrated form of the festival, takes place during the autumn season. It is an important religious and cultural event celebrated enthusiastically throughout India.
History Behind The Festival
The Bengali word “Basanti” has its roots in the word “Basant”, meaning “spring”. At the end of spring, when the sultry summer is just beginning, this puja is held during the bright fortnight of Chaitra, the final month of the Bengali calendar. During this time, farmers who harvested their crops would express gratitude to Goddess Durga through this puja. Initially, it was known as Durga Puja; however, when Ramchandra celebrated it in autumn, it was renamed Durga Puja. The original puja was then referred to as Basanti Puja. According to the Chandi, King Surath was the first to worship Goddess Durga, but why did he choose to hold this puja?
According to the Markandeya Puran, King Surath was a Kshatriya warrior and ruler of Bolipura, now Bolpur, West Bengal, India. He was admired for his skills in both warfare and administration and was a great devotee of Goddess Durga. His neighbouring ruler, Javan Raj, was jealous of his success and one day attacked the state of King Surath, resulting in his defeat. In the aftermath of this, the ministers of King Surath and some members of the royal family plundered his wealth and treasure. King Surath was filled with anguish and worry, suffering from mental agony as he thought of his subjects’ lost kingdom and condition. With nothing left, he took refuge in a forest, eventually reaching the hermitage of Sage Medhas, who kindly allowed him to stay.
Samadhi Baishya had been wronged by his wife and son, who had taken away all his wealth. Samadhi, much like King Surath, was deeply worried about his family’s welfare. Neither could comprehend why they should care for those who had caused them such damage. To satisfy their curiosity, they sought the advice of Sage Medhas, who informed them that this was the will of Mahamaya or Goddess Durga. He then relayed to them the stories of Mahamaya, and King Surath began to meditate by a river, worshipping Mahamaya in the month of Chaitra to regain his lost kingdom. This puja came to be known as Basanti Puja. Additionally, Ramchandra, from the Indian epic Ramayan by Krittibash, invoked Goddess Durga in autumn intending to rescue Sita from Ravan. This worship of Durga at this time of year has since become a main festival of Bengali Hindus worldwide.
The practice of worshipping the Goddess Durga dates back to ancient times and is believed to have originated during the Spring season, or Basant, to mark the Spring equinox. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ram changed the period of the puja from Chaitra to Ashwin (October-November).
The Vasant Durga Puja or Basanti Mata Puja, celebrated during Chaitra Navratri, is less important than the Durga Navratri that takes place in Ashwayuja or Ashwin month. As such, the rituals, customs, and traditions associated with the Ashwayuja Durga Navratri may not be observed during the Basanti Mata Puja.
During the Ashwin months, many traditional rituals take place. These include fasting, worshipping the Goddess Durga, and installing a sacred pot (Ghatsthapana or Kalasha Sthapana). Additionally, worshipping young girls (known as Kanya Puja or Kumari Puja) is also a popular practice. All of these rituals are integral components of Durga Navratri.
According to Hindu Mythology, Durga Navratri is observed in the Ashwin month and is known as Akal Bodhan or the untimely invocation of Goddess Durga. Lord Sri Rama worshipped the Goddess in the non-traditional Hindu month of Ashwayuja masam to destroy Ravana.
The Basanti Puja is an important Hindu ritual mentioned in many Hindu scriptures. It was first performed by King Suratha, who is believed to have been an ideal ruler, in the month of Chaitra (March) during the spring season. This puja was then given the name ‘Basanti Puja’. This tradition was followed until Lord Ram changed it.
Traditional Foods Consumed
- Meethe Chawal (Sweet Rice)
Rice, a staple food in India, is an important part of many religious rituals. Meethe Chawal is a traditional dish that combines rice with sweeteners such as sugar, honey, or jaggery and a mix of spices, including cinnamon, saffron, cloves, cardamom, coconut, and dry fruits. The sugar syrup adds to the sweetness and gives the dish a vibrant yellow colour. Meethe Chawal is often prepared as a part of an offering (prasad or bhog) to deities and distributed among family members.
- Khaman Dhokla or Khandvi is a popular breakfast dish in Gujarati cuisine made from a simple mix of gram flour and water. The batter is left to dry and then folded into small cylinders. Yoghurt can also be added to the mix for a different flavour. Finally, the dish is garnished with coconut for added flavour. Khandvi is easy to make and does not require many ingredients, making it an ideal snack for any time of the day.
- Makhana Kheer is a traditional Indian sweet dish often made for special occasions. It is prepared by boiling milk and adding dry fruits, sweet spices, and other favourite ingredients. This recipe is so popular that many people make it in their own homes. Another variation of this dish is Coconut Kheer, which is also quite popular.
- Kadhi is a delicacy that is very popular in India. It combines gram flour (also known as besan), curd or buttermilk and pakoda (deep-fried fritters made from gram flour). To add a sweet and strong flavor to this dish, some people further enhance it with garlic and onion. Once the kadhi is cooked, the pakodas are added as the final element. Kadhi is best served with plain or jeera rice.
- Rajbhog is a traditional delicacy from West Bengal, India. It is made by stuffing spongy paneer with various dry fruits such as pistachios, almonds, cardamom powder and saffron, providing a lip-smacking combination of flavours.
- Kesar Poori is a popular dish served during the onset of spring, traditionally originating from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It consists of a deep-fried yellow-coloured flatbread, which is usually served with savoury potato or paneer gravy. This delicious dish can be enjoyed as part of a breakfast, lunch or dinner and complemented with a sweet dish or beverage to make it a complete meal with a range of tantalising flavours.
- Kesaria Sheera is a popular sweet dish that is enjoyed in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, particularly on the auspicious day of Basanti Pooja. This delicacy is made from a combination of milk, semolina, cardamom and saffron, creating a flavourful and richly textured dessert that people of all ages enjoy.
- Namkeen Chawal is an incredibly flavourful and easy-to-prepare dish that can be made in just 20 minutes! Many people avoid onion and garlic on Basanti Pooja when making Namkeen Chawal. However, it can be served with plain, boondi or bathua raita for an extra layer of flavour. You can use leftover rice, cooked vegetables and spices to create a delicious meal.
- Khichdi is a famous dish to spot in the Saraswati Puja pandals. You can find it in the afternoon or evening, and it is one of the favourite dishes of Bengalis. It is made with rice and dal (pulses). It has a simple recipe and takes no time to get cooked to perfection. You can also add a few vegetables and spices to enhance the flavours.
- Besan and Boondi Laddu are traditional Indian sweets that bring a delightful aroma to any home. These laddus are often a vibrant yellow colour, making them a popular choice for the Hindu celebration of Basanti Pooja. The recipe for these laddus is relatively simple, making them an ideal choice for any special occasion or puja held in the home.
- What is Basanti?
This festival is known for its vibrant colours and decorations, and it is believed that the colours of Basanti bring good luck, joy and prosperity to everyone who celebrates. Basanti is also a time for spiritual reflection and devotion, and devotees often perform special pujas and prayers to honour Durga and her blessings.
- Is Annapurna and Basanti puja same?
It is a pooja of Goddess Annapurna, the deity of food, and is typically celebrated on the second day of the Chait Navaratri. So, the answer is no; Annapurna and Basanti Puja are not the same.
- Who invented Basanti Puja?
This festival is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (April) and marks the end of the winter season. People dress in bright yellow clothes, use yellow flowers and sing traditional songs to mark this auspicious occasion. It is believed that Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped to bring prosperity, abundance, and health during this festival.
- Which place is famous for Basanti puja?
Basanti Puja is an important ritual in Eastern India, especially in Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, and Jharkhand. It is an occasion to worship the Mother Goddess and takes place over nine days in the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra Shukla Paksha Pratipada. The people of these states celebrate Basanti Puja with great fervour and reverence.
- Why do we celebrate Basanti Durga Puja?
It is believed that the Goddess Durga emerged from the collective energy of all the gods and goddesses and defeated Ravana. This victory of good over evil is celebrated through worshipping the Goddess Durga and is known as Basanti Durga Puja. This festival marks the victory of truth over falsehood and reminds us to remain true to our values and inner strength.
- Who is Goddess Basanti?
Basanti, who is also known as Vasanti, is an incarnation of Durga. She is the Goddess of spring and is prayed to for a prosperous harvest and good luck. Hindus in Assam celebrate Basanti Puja for two days, on the sixth and seventh day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month Chaitra (March–April). During this period, the worshippers decorate their temples with flowers and colourful items and offer prayers and sweets to the Goddess.