On the third day of the five-day Durga Puja, the Hindu community of the country will celebrate the Maha Ashtami puja today with thousands of devotees being expected to throng the puja mandaps (pavilion) to worship the mother goddess.
The day is considered as the most important day of Durga Puja as it marks the victory of the goddess over Mahishasura (the buffalo-demon).
The devotees will sing hymns and offer flowers seeking the blessings of deity. In old days, a buffalo was offered as sacrifice to the goddess but these days, bananas, pumpkins and cucumbers replaced the animal.
Kumari Puja, Suvasini Puja and Dampat Puja are also performed on this day.
However, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there will be no programmes to celebrate the Kumari Puja in Dhaka’s Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission for the second consecutive year during this year’s Durga Puja.
Maha Ashtami, also known as Durga Ashtami, holds special significance in the Hindus’ social and religious calendar, which comes after Maha Saptami.
Earlier, Maha Saptami of Durga puja was celebrated on Tuesday with elaborate rituals since early morning at over 32,000 mandaps across the country.
Thousands of devotees gathered at different mandaps to participate in the rituals and other arrangements of puja organisers. Some of them were seen wearing face masks while others were careless about following health guidelines. Especially social distancing could not be maintained in most of the mandaps.