Kanya Puja – Hindus Reverence to Virgin Girls
is a ritual that is observed in Navaratri festival. It is also known as Kumari puja or Kanya pujan. A young girl who has not reached puberty is called Kanya or Kumari. Navaratri is one of the biggest festivals of Hindus that lasts for nine days. There is an interesting legend about Kanya puja. Please read on to know more about Kanya pujan.
The Legend of Kanya Puja
There was a demon called Kalasura. He did great penances and got a boon that he will be very powerful and no one can kill him except for a small virgin girl. He started occupying heavens and earth with his power. He never considered anyone to be worth of him comparison. Everyone in the world was tired of his atrocious activities and with great disgust demigods approached Goddess Mahakali.
Goddess Mahakali , as mother, became very compassionate towards devatas. She came to know how to defeat Kalasura. She took a form of small, virgin girl and went to Kalasura. Seeing a small girl Kalasura thought he could just throw her off without any effort. But the little girl was very strong. She just took her sword and killed Kalasura and put an end to his malice. From then Mahakali is worshipped in form of virgin girl. This legend also teaches one to show respect even to the seemingly small children. Children should also be honored and respected as we do not know how powerful they are internally.
Rituals of Kanya Puja
Kanya puja is celebrated on the eight day of Navaratri. Navaratri is the period of nine nights which are dedicated to mother Durga. Durga is the goddess of power and many Hindus believe Durga as mother of Universe,
On the day of Kanya puja 9 girls between the ages of 1 to 12 years are invited in home. Those who perform the puja kneel down and apply turmeric to the feet of girls. They are honored with tilak or sindoor on the foreheads. Several mantras are chanted while doing the worship. They are decorated with new clothes and colorful odhnis. Aarti is performed to all and following that sumptuous meals are given. Later they are sent to their houses with fruits and flowers. All this makes the girls happy and joyous.
Kanya puja is one of the main rituals of Mahanavami in Bengal. Thus in Hindu culture even a small girl is honored!