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A Record Setting Durga Puja Marks 25th Anniversary of BAGA

November 2003
A Record Setting Durga Puja Marks 25th Anniversary of BAGA

Durga Puja is the most celebrated festival in West Bengal. Bengalis all over the world wait for this event, which traditionally occurs in the month of Ashwin according to Bengali calendar (mid September/early October). The pujas are held over four days in India.

Traditionally, the pujas in this country are held over a weekend, and a limited version is performed over one or two day(s). This year BAGA celebrated it, for the first time, as a three-day event - incidentally the dates for which coincided with the actual puja dates back home. The festive event was held this year at Shamrock Middle School in Decatur. Close to seven hundred people were in attendance at peak times during the three days - October 3, 4 and 5. Like all other years, the pujas were performed by Mr. Partha Sarathi Mukherjee, who has been conducting this ritual for the last twenty five years. He was ably assisted by Mr. Shaila Banerjee and Dr. Soumitra Chattopadhyay.

Along with the traditional events that take place every year as a part of the celebration, this being the silver jubilee year of the pujas, BAGA arranged for many additional events. There were two guest artists, noted vocalist Mr. Utpalendu Chowdhury (from Kolkata), and vocalist Ms. Mala Ganguly (based in California) - whose performances brought back memories of good old days and were immensely enjoyed by the attendees.���BAGA also presented a Bengali play Kane-bibhrat, with local talents, which was enjoyed and appreciated by the full house of viewers. Additionally, there were other cultural presentations both by children and grown up performers. The sit-and-draw competition saw children of all ages participating.���Several vendor booths were seen selling items ranging from Bengali CDs, DVDs, video and audio tapes, to sarees and salwar-kameejs, to precious and imitation jewelry, to paan masalas and achaars. A traditional Puja ceremony had transformed itself into a festive mela - all through the hard work of organizers and volunteers who had been preparing for this special occasion for the last several months.���There was a great demand for the literary magazine published by BAGA containing contributions from local authors, along with authors from other parts of the United States as well as several noted literary stalwarts from Kolkata.���Overall, the event was a grand success. The following week BAGA celebrated Lakshmi Puja at a park in Roswell attended by about three hundred people.

This year, the Bengali Association of Greater Atlanta (BAGA) is celebrating its twenty-fifth year of existence in Atlanta area. It brings together people who appreciate the culture and traditions of Bengal. The organization also prides itself on its cooperative ventures with other like minded Indian-American cultural and professional organizations in Atlanta and neighboring states.

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