Sindoor Khela - The Bengali Ritual of Celebrating Dashami

Dusshera or Vijayadashami is a significant religious festival celebrated every year with full fervour by the Bengali community in major cities of Scotland like, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. In the earlier days, Bengali people came to Edinburgh to celebrate Durga Puja. Durga Puja, the greatest festival of Bengalis is a ritual performed for five days. Dashami or Dusshera or Vijaya Dashami is the last day of Durga Puja followed by the immersion of Devi Durga. To me, it’s great excitement to experience the festival, cultural programmes, and simultaneously capture the colourful moments with my camera.

Sindoor Khela is a ritual held on the last day of 10 day celebration when Bengali Hindu married women apply vermillion or sindoor on the forehead and feet of Maa Durga along with sweets as an offering to her.

After that, they smear sindoor playfully on each one’s face and celebrate the moment absolute joy. To married women, it’s a ceremony observed for the long life and good health of spouses and children. Traditionally, this ritual marks the end of the greatest festival and bids adieu to goddess Durga.

During the Sindoor Khela ritual, the Bengali women drape themselves in white saris contrasted with red borders which make the festival more vibrant. Decorations, cultural programs, and of course delicious foods along with sweets make the festival reach new heights. The spirit of Durga Puja celebration, the art, culture, tradition, and the way of performing the ritual in a land far away from India is literally admirable. Indeed, the light of Durga Puja lifts up the spirits of immigrants who wait around the year for this grand celebration.