Durga Puja is one of the most splendid festivals popularly celebrated by the Bengali community of eastern India. It coincides with the festival of Navratri, which is celebrated in the western part of India. The Durga Puja 2020 starts on Thursday, October 22, or the sixth day of the Navratri.
During the Durga Puja or Navratri, the seventh day is the main occasion of the festival or Maha Puja, also known as Saptami.
On the outbreak of the Saptami, the rituals begin with a holy bath of nine plants bunched together that is invoked as Goddess Durga in the river or pond. The worship of the nine plants is known as Nabapatrika. The leaves or the plants are tied to twigs of white Aparajita plants with a yellow color thread.
These nine plants are combined together to represent the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. Though the plants individually represent various Gods. These nine plants represented the following Gods:
• Bel leaves: Lord Shiva
• Asoka leaves: Goddess Shokarahita
• Rice paddy: Goddess Lakshmi
• Banana plant: Goddess Brahmani
• Arum plant: Goddess Chamunda
• Turmeric plant: Goddess Durga
• Pomegranate leaves: Goddess Raktadantik
• Jayanti plant: Goddess Kartiki
• Colocasia plant: Goddess Kalika
After the holy bath, Nabapatrika is adorned in red-bordered white sari, and vermilion is smeared on the leaves. Then she is set on an ornamented pedestal and worshipped with flowers, sandalwood paste, and incense sticks. Nabapatrika is then put on the right side of Lord Ganesh idol which is the main reason why she is known as Lord Ganesh’s wife.
The worshipped of Nabapatrika represents Mother Nature. The word “Nava" signifies nine and “Patrika" means plant. It also represents human life with the dedication to its maintenance, well-being, peace, and happiness. Worshiping of the plants encourages the people to devote to love and protecting nature and the flora and fauna of the earth.