Bengalis celebrate Ma Durga’s annual homecoming
For Bengalis the Durga Puja is not only the biggest Hindu festival, it is also the most significant socio-cultural event of the year. The Bengali community in Atlanta celebrated this autumnal festival in the first two weekends in October.
One major celebration was Pujari’s 25th anniversary puja on the first weekend. A special three-day program started on Friday evening, with puja, pushpanjali, arati, dinner, and a program by Rathijit Bhattacharya and Subhajit Ray from Kolkata. The all-day celebration on Saturday featured performances by local artists following a 25th anniversary felicitation ceremony to honor Pujari’s founding members, major contributors, and past presidents. The children’s dance program directed by Mayuri Ray, a dance program based on Tagore’s poems directed by Banhi Nandi, a Bengali drama directed by Shyamoli Das, and a dance-drama choreographed by Indrani Kar were this year’s Pujari team presentations. Featured guest artists from Kolkata included Tanusree Shankar Dance Company and Manomay Bhattacharya with his band. On Sunday Pujari presented a Bollywood Hangama Night featuring upcoming singers Soumen Nandi and Pratibha Singh Baghel. The Pujari celebration drew a sold-out audience and filled to capacity the Berkmar High School auditorium.
Several other Bengali groups celebrated Durga Puja as well on the first weekend, including the Atlanta Bengali Forum.
The newest nonprofit cultural organization, Purbasha, established in October 2010, celebrated Durga Puja on October 1st and 2nd in Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, GA. For two days the venue was filled with puja mantras, pushpanjali, evening arati and dhak beats (traditional drum beat). The auspicious event was also filled with cultural events by participants of all ages. Puja ceremony concluded with religious bhakti kirtans on Sunday evening. The two day event drew a huge crowd and support from local Bengali residents and business community of all sectors.
The Bengali Association of Greater Atlanta celebrated the puja with characteristic pomp and enthusiasm on the second weekend of October. Their three-day program included Rabindrasangeet by veteran Kolkata artist Dr. Sreekumar Chattopadhyay, who was accompanied by Atlanta’s Raktim Sen on keyboards and Amitava Sen on tablas. Saturday’s program of songs, dances and drama by local artists was followed by noted singer Jayati Chakraborty from Kolkata. On Sunday the main attraction was Kolkata’s singing duo Sivaji Chattopadhyay & Arundhati Holm Chowdhury.
Bonus Web Features
Links to organizations:www.atlantabengaliforum.org
Pujari -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/pujariinc/sets (by Samaresh Mukhopadhyay)
Videos:Pujari (25 years) --
(photos: Amitava Sen & Samaresh Mukhopadhyay, video: Samaresh Mukhopadhyay) Purbasha Durga Puja-2011
Purbasha Durga Puja-2011-"Chandi Path" on Saturday Oct 1st
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