Durga puja is the most prominent festival of Bengalis and Calcutta turns a new city during the last four days of the festival from Maha-Shashti (the sixth day), the day of Bodhon on Maha-Shashti to the day when the idols are immersed in the rivers, lakes and seas on the evening of Dashami. However, it is considered to immerse the idols in the sacred waters of the River Ganges. It is believed that the Mother Goddess descends to the Earth on Shashthi and returns to her abode on Dashmi. The fresh and cool air of the pleasant winters, the clear skies, mildly fragrant Shiuli (a type of flower), the bountiful harvest in the fields and chanting of mantras and shlokas to worship Shakti, all collectively set up the scene for the ten-day long festival of Durga Puja. The preparations are done long before the festival to clean and decorate homes, buy gifts for fiends and relatives and new clothes for the celebrations and prepare mouth-watering delicacies for the occasion.
However, Durgapuja festival is not merely religious in nature. With time, it has acquired the status of the biggest social even of the region as Bengalis use this time to socialize and make big plans for the four days of Durga Puja. Dances and performances organized, feasts and music reign the festivities and it is also the time for the teens and youths to catch up on the latest fashion trends, designer clothes, trendy footwear and catchy accessories. Businessmen sure cash in the festival and sales, discounts, free gifts jazz up the spirits of the people. Shopping spree and traditional Bengali sweets help to loosen up the festive side of the peole. In short, Durga Puja is not only for the transition from the dull to a life of fun and gaiety but also to share this joy and happiness with friends and relatives.