Devi is the great goddess of the Hindus,the consort of Shiva and she is worshiped in various forms corresponding to her two aspects: benevolence and fierceness. She is Uma, "light"; Gauri, "yellow or brilliant"; Parvati, "the mountaineer"; and Jagatmata, "the-mother-of-the-world" in her milder guise. The terrible emanations are Durga "the inaccessible"; Kali, "the black"; Chandi, "the fierce"; and Bhairavi, "the terrible."
Descent of the Goddess
Durga, a beautiful warrior seated upon a tiger, was the first appearance of the great goddess. The circumstance of her miraculous arrival was the tyranny of the monster-demon Mahishasur, who through terrific austerities had acquired invincible strength. The gods were afraid of this water-buffalo bull because neither Vishnu nor Shiva could prevail against him. It seemed that the joint energy of Shakti was only capable of vanquishing Mahisha, and so it was the eighteen-armed Durga who went out to do battle.
She has been worshiped from about 400 AD, but probably earlier, to the present. Her literary references are chiefly the Ramayana and Mahabharata, epic and Puranic texts, and she is mentioned by name in Vedic literature. In general, Durga is regarded in northern India as the gentle bride epitomizing family unity while in southern India she is revered more in her warrior aspect.
Durga Puja Facts :
Durga Puja is a celebration of the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil demon Mahishasura, as mentioned in Hindu mythology.
The first Durga puja ceremony is said to have taken place in 1606 in West Bengal and celebrated by Bhabananda, the ancestor of Maharaja Krishnachandra of Nadia.
The oldest Durga puja ceremony in Kolkata is said to have taken place in 1610 due to the efforts of the royal family of Barisha headed by Sabarana Chaudhury.
The first Barowari(community) Durga puja had reportedly been arranged in Guptipara (of Hoogli district in West Bengal) in the year 1761.
In Kolkata, the Barowari(organised by the public) Durga puja tradition commenced in 1860.
The term "Barowari"(meaning "organised by the public") was changed to "Sarbojonin"(meaning “for all people”), in 1924.
Durga Puja includes the worship of Goddess Durga as also of Lord Shiva, her four sons and even of Mahishasura.
In Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is regarded as the husband of Goddess Durga. The four divine beings Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati and Kartikeya are worshipped as the offsprings of the Goddess.
The Goddess Durga :
The buffalo demon, Mahishashur, performed tapasya and for his efforts he received a boon from Brahma that no man or god would be able to kill him. Full of power, he attacked the gods and captured heaven. The gods had to come down and wander about on earth.
They were very angry at their condition and their faces began to glow.Goddess Durga killing MahishashurThe light took the shape of a goddess, Durga. Each of the gods gave her a weapon. Himalaya gave her a lion . Riding the lion she began to roar. Mahishashur came out of his palace on hearing the roar. Durga killed his army of demons. Mahisha took many forms, but she defeated all of them. Finally, he took the form of a buffalo and attacked her. Durga killed Mahishashur with her trishula, and today she is worshipped as goddess Durga.
Different Names for Durga Puja :
Check out how Durga Puja is known as in different places of India:
West Bengal - Durga Puja/Akalbodhan/Sharadiya Puja/Sharodotsab/Maha Puja
Gujarat - Navratri Puja.
Punjab - Navratri Puja.
Kerala - Navratri Puja.
Maharashtra - Navratri Puja.
Kullu Valley - Kullu Dussehra.
Himachal Pradesh - Kullu Dussehra.
Mysore - Mysore Dussehra.
Karnataka - Mysore Dussehra.
Tamil Nadu - Bommai Kolu.
Andhra Pradesh - Bommai Kolu.
Nepal - Dashain.
Bangladesh - Durga Puja/Bhagabati Puja.