Luxembourg's Indian community celebrates Durga Puja and Diwali
The Salle um Duerf in Itzig will again be hosting this year’s Lux Durga Puja from 11 to 15 October, a major Hindu celebration in east and north-east India, Nepal and Bangladesh, and observed by some 1,400 families in the Grand Duchy.
Organised by LuxUtsav, Durga Puja will combine traditional rituals and prayers with performing arts, music and games. A CovidCheck event, timed slots for the puja have mostly been taken, but you can attend it online daily, and catch a plethora of cultural events on social media and Youtube.
The origins of the festival date back to the 15th century and are rooted in the belief that good triumphs over evil. According to Hindu mythology, it’s believed that the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswar created the Goddess Durga to defeat the demon king Mahishasura.
"Durga Puja celebrates hope of growth much like a harvest festival. There's a practice of including a bundle of nine different plants called Navpattrika, which symbolises Durga as a form of nature and her importance to agriculture," said Nimkee Gupta, from LuxUtsav.
For Puja lovers, things like the grand aatop chaal alpona in the puja pandal, the ornate chandmalas made of shola, or the sight of shiuli or the sound of the dhak or ullu, are intrinsic parts of Durga Puja, Gupta explained. "Recreating this environment in Luxembourg and sharing the joy of Durga Puja is the prime aim of our organisation," she said.
Durga takes on many manifestations – with qualities of courage and ferocity, strength, meditation and reflection, creativity, compassion and health. Legend tells that an eight or 10-handed, weapon-laden Goddess Durga, riding a lion, defeated the shape-shifting, deceptive and powerful buffalo demon-king Mahishasura and restored peace and prosperity to the universe.
The celebration also affords an opportunity for Hindu families to provide offerings to Durga and to remember ancestors.
Online cultural programme
The exact programme of online cultural events will be announced on 12 October. The line-up includes folk dances and musical performances, with highlights such as the the centenary celebration of renowned Indian film director and scriptwriter Satyajit Ray, LuxUtsav défilé de mode, a baby regalia and kids' fancy dress.
LuxUtsav is a non-profit association, formed by Indian residents in Luxembourg in 2019.
Diwali – 6 November 2021
The Indian Association of Luxembourg has also recently announced that its Diwali (Festival of Lights) gala event will return again in 2021, and will be held on Saturday 6 November at the cultural centre in Bonnevoie (subject to the latest pandemic rules). There will be traditional dancers performing a mix of Bhangra, Rajasthani Folk, Kathak and Bollywood dancing. There will also be a seated dinner. More information will be available later this month on their Facebook page and website.