Bengali Cultural Society, Reading - is a UK registered charity, established in 1982 by the local community for the purposes to advance the education of the public in Bengali and Indian culture, language and heritage, including the music, art, literature, traditions and history of Bengal and India.

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Autumn Festival

(Sharad Utsav)

 

VICTORY OF GOOD OVER EVIL

Autumn Festival - popularly known as Sharad Utsav or Durga Puja (Dusshera) is celebrated widely in all parts of India and abroad by a multi-cultural and an immensely diverse diaspora. Bengalis celebrate this festival all over the world by worshipping the Goddess of 'Shakti' (Durga) who is revered as the Female Form of the Supreme Being. 

Bengalis believe that Goddess Durga returns to her mother Menoka and father Giriraj during this time of the year. Arriving with her children and two friends, Jaya and Bijoya, Durga stays with her parents for four days, only to return to Shivalaya on the 'Dashami'. Her four children - Ganesh, Kartik, Saraswati and Lakshmi - represent the Initiator, the Protector, Knowledge and the Provider of the puja respectively.

An embodiment of diverse manifestations, she is celebrated as Kali, when she turns black as the night and omnipotent, fearful in rage and fury. As Parvati, she is serene, the pretty consort of Lord Shiva by his side in the snowy peaks of the Kailash mountain. She is Bhawani, symbol of life. As Shakti or Durga, she is the destroyer of evil - triumphantly slaying the demon Mahishasura

“O Mother!

Thee, who is present everywhere,

thee who is the embodiment of power and Energy!

I Bow to Thee! I Bow to Thee! I Bow to Thee!”