Our city is in full on festival mode. October marks Durga Puja in India, and it’s most prominently celebrated in West Bengal. It celebrates the Hindu god Durga. Think Mardi Gras on steroids. There are multiple days to it, marked by the Hindu calendar, but it is really celebrated all month long. Each community puts up a “pandal” which is a temporary temple made of bamboo. These things can get extremely elaborate. There are also themes. I’ve heard of a Harry Potter theme, Titanic theme, etc. To celebrate Durga Puja, families will get dressed up and travel around looking at all of the pandals, a lot like us looking at Christmas lights. Prizes are given for the best ones and it is the biggest socio-cultural event in West Bengal.
Please be praying with us for our city. We will be taking all of the kids from the home to a conference for three days of Puja to avoid a lot of the craziness that will go on. We’ve already started hearing drums at night. And the parades and the drums will continue for several days, possibly even a week. Pray that we would be able to be a light in the darkness, that we would make the most of every opportunity given to us and that we would fervently pray for the people of this city.
Pray for the Hindu people of this city, that they would realize that their idols are simply idols. That there is a true living God who is all-powerful, who heals the broken hearted, who comforts, who restores. That they would realize that they can bring as many bananas and cucumbers as they want to their gods, but they still cannot do anything for them. They are just concrete dolls. Pray that their eyes would be opened to the goodness of the Lord.
Here are some semi-blurry from a taxi cab photos I took to give you an idea of these structures: