Kali Puja 2023: Date, Timings, Rituals & Significance
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For most people across India, the Amavasya night during the month of Kartik as per the Hindu calendar is demarcated for the worship of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh and is popularly known as Diwali. However, for the people in the Eastern Indian states of West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Odisha (and even the town of Titwala, Maharashtra), the following night is observed as Kali Puja or Shyama Puja. Kali Puja is the annual Hindu festival dedicated to Goddess Kali, who is also known as Shyama or dark-skinned, especially for those who follow the Shakta or Tantric Hindu traditions. This year, Kali Puja 2023 will be celebrated on November 12. 

According to tradition, Kali Puja is always celebrated on the tithi of new moon day or Dipannita Amavasya of the month of Kartik as per the Hindu calendar. On certain years, as is the case with 2023, the Dipannita Amavasya tithi for Kalip Puja coincides with that of Diwali, creating a rare evening and night when Goddesses Lakshmi and Kali are both worshipped according to varying Hindu traditions. In 2023, Kali Puja’s Amavasya Tithi will fall on November 12, and so will the tithi for Diwali celebrations and the worship of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh. 

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Kali Puja 2023 Timings And Tithi 

According to the Drik Panchang, Kali Puja 2023 will fall on November 12, 2023. The Dipannita Amavasya Tithi will begin at 2.44PM on November 12 and end at 2.56PM on November 13. The Kali Puja Nishita timings, which is the main ritual of the night, will take place from 11.39PM on November 12 to 12.32AM on November 13.  

The Historical Significance Of Kali Puja 2023 

According to Hindu mythology, the Goddess Kali is known for her fierce nature and dark-skinned avatar bearing arms. Legend says that at one point, Goddess Kali became enraged at the moral transgressions and impure lives of humans on earth. Emerging in her most war-like form, she stepped out to destroy the world and everyone who stood in her path. Her husband, Lord Shiva tried to stop her to no avail. Ultimately, he lay down flat in front of her, she accidentally stepped on him, stuck out her tongue realising her mistake and retreated after apologising.  

To this day, people believe that worshiping Goddess Kali on Kali Puja is the best way to appease her rage and ensure that humanity is following in the righteous path set forth by her. It is believed that following the right rituals on Kali Puja will get the blessings from Goddess Kali, eradicate negativity, promote righteousness and make life more prosperous. In Bengal, the tradition is to not only celebrate Kali Puja across homes but also in large-scale gatherings or community events. This tradition was started by Raja Krishnachandra, the zamindar of Krishnanagar in the 18th century and is still followed en masse across West Bengal to this day. 

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Rituals Associated With Kali Puja 2023 

According to Shakta traditions, Kali Puja has two primary methods or sets of rituals, Brahmanical and Tantric. The Brahmanical tradition calls for the offering of a fully vegetarian bhog thali to Goddess Kali on Kali Puja, and in Bengal, this includes the addition of dishes like Labra, Khichudi, varieties of fried food or Bhaja and sweets. According to the Tantric tradition, the bhog not only includes Khichudi but also an element of animal sacrifice—usually goat—which is then presented in the form of a mutton curry cooked without any onions or garlic. 

Both tradtions of worshipping Goddess Kali on Kali Puja have certain common elements too. Since the colour crimson is sacred to the goddess, donning crimson clothes, applying red vermillion tika and offering fresh hibiscus flowers is a must. Whether being celebrated at a Kali temple or in pandals, following these rituals during Kali Puja is essential for those who celebrate it.