Croxteth Sports Centre was proud to host the Durga Puja Festival again this year, from 15th October to 6th November.
Durga Puja is one of the oldest traditions of Bengali Hinduism. It is a festival in celebration of the victory of the goddess Durga Ma, over the demon king Mahishasura. The festival usually takes place for ten days throughout Ashvina, the seventh month in the Hindu calendar (September to October).
To celebrate, large statues of the goddess are installed; there is music and dancing, prayer and worship, with an explosion of beautiful, brightly coloured decorations and flowers.
Croxteth Sports Centre has hosted the Durga Puja event for the last few years, and it is always an enriching event for the community. This year, some lucky pupils from Our Lady of St Swithins attended the festival, to learn about Hinduism and what the festival is all about.
The Bengali Association of Merseyside and North of England have been organising and celebrating the event in Merseyside for 42 years. Colly Whitty, manager of Croxteth Sports Centre, said: ‘This event is testimony to how truly wonderful the people of the community are. This year over 4000 people from all over the North West came to share their festival with us.
‘The community of Croxteth have embraced this event and the people who attend, it has broken down so many barriers while also introducing different cultures to our school children and the wider community; even the children from Diddy Daycare Nursery participated in the event. This just goes to show the cohesion and harmony that is present in our community.’
The rest of the sports centre was still fully operational throughout the festival, with England boxing in the sports centre at the weekend, too.
It’s been a busy few months for Croxteth – we can’t wait for next year!
The Story of Durga Puja There once lived a demon (Asura) named Mahisha. He found great happiness in hurting people. Once, he decided to pray to Lord Brahma, who he thought would give him a wish, which would make him invincible. Mahisha prayed and fasted for months as he stood on one foot. This pleased Lord Brahma who came to grant him a wish. Mahisha asked for immortality, which the lord said he could not have, as every creature had to die. Mahisha decided that he would ask for something that would make him as good as immortal. He asked that no man should be able to kill and, if he had to die, it should be only at the hands of a woman. He was sure that no woman could ever fight against him. however strong she may be. Now that Mahisha was invincible, he and the other asuras went about hurting and killing everyone on earth, and then went on to the heavens to fight the Gods. Mahisha drove out the Gods and took over the throne. The Gods and people decided to ask Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma concentrated hard. Their godly energy took the form of a divine lady with thousand arms. In each arm she carried a weapon belonging to all Gods. This was Durga. She mounted a fiery lion and roared. It was a roar that shook mountains and created huge waves in the seas. Even Mahisha was worried for a second, but his vanity took over when he saw that the terrible form was that of a woman. Durga created a large army from her breath to fight Mahisha’s army and then fought with Mahisha who came in the form of a Buffalo. As he struggled to set himself from the Buffalo form, she killed him with her sword, delivering the earth and heavens of the Burden called Mahishasura.