City’s Hindu community celebrates Durga Puja as hundreds come together to mark largest festival in the religious year

HUNDREDS of members of the Hindu community came together in Portsmouth yesterday to celebrate the largest festival in their religious year.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 2:52 pm

More than 100 people from the city and further afield came to St Wilfrid's Church, Fratton, to celebrate Durga Puja.

Offering food, music, and dancing, the event was organised by the Hindu Cultural Association.

This was established in Portsmouth in 2008 by the local Hindu community to keep their religion and cultural traditions alive in the city.

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Durga Puja, Portsmouth's largest Hindu festival of the year, taking place at St Wilfrid's Church, Fratton. Photo by Alex Shute

Community celebrations were unable to take place during 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.

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Mrinal Kanti Ghosh, president of the Hindu Culture Association, took part in the festival along with the group’s secretary Nripendra Ghosh.

A large buffet was laid out for attendees to enjoy together.

Durga Puja. Photo by Alex Shute

Mrinal said: ‘We offered a variety of food that we have cooked, purely vegetarian food with no garlic and no onion.

‘We decorated the hall with fresh flowers, and the priest came.

‘We had people from Scotland, Eastbourne, London.

‘In the evening, after all the prayers had been done, the Lord Mayor and Mayoress came and Labour councillor Tom Coles came.

Cooking food to serve at the festivities. Photo by Alex Shute

‘There was singing, dancing, folk music, a children’s programme of singing and dancing.

‘It was an absolute success.’

Traditionally, the last five days of Durga Puja involve rituals and practices.

Mrinal added: ‘It is the most prestigious and oldest festival in the Hindu religion.

Durga Puja at St Wilfrid's Church, Fratton. Photo by Alex Shute

‘It is the biggest festival for Bengali Hindus, and it represents good over evil.

‘We’re trying to keep our traditions alive away from home so the children can see what it is.’

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