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Durgotsav celebration comes to Fargo for first time

Organizers of the Hindu festival hope this year's event becomes a tradition for Fargo-Moorhead.

A revered Monk from the Vedanta Society of Portland, Oregon lead the worship services at Durgotsav 2022.
A revered Monk from the Vedanta Society of Portland, Oregon lead the worship services at Durgotsav 2022.
Mike McGurran
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Over at the El Zegal shrine on October 1st, people are celebrating the inaugural year of one of the most famous Bengali cultural festivals, the Durga Puja.

The Puja is a worship ritual performed by Hindus to honor their deities. Lead by a revered monk, they honor Durga, a Hindu goddess who represents female power and strength.

"The basic plan is to welcome the goddess and her children," said Ipsita Mallik, an organizer with the festival. "It's like our mother, our family members, we welcome them."

The Durga Puja association of North Dakota has been hard at work organizing today's festival.

"This is one of our main festivals of Hindus," said Aparupa Chatterjee, the president of the Durga Puja Association of North Dakota. "Like you have Christmas, so it's exactly similar to Christmas."

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It's the first of its kind for Fargo-Moorhead, and an opportunity for local Bengali families to come together, as there is no Hindu Temple in Fargo-Moorhead. Families from Grand Fork even made the trip.

"That's what makes us so excited and emotional, not just for us to recognize the festival is staying in North Dakota and not having to go to other places to visit," said Tania Biswas, who drove from Grand Forks to be here.

Chatterjee said it's both a chance to introduce the festival to the people of Fargo Moorhead, and a chance to introduce it their own children.

"We want the younger generations to take this over, as we approach the coming years," she said.

Itt's not just for people of the Hindu Faith. It's for everyone.

"Irrespective of what religion we are, or we belong to, I think it's the main thing is the spirituality of the atmosphere or the ambience today," Chatterjee said. "So may love and prosperity and spirituality spread all over."

They hope today marks the beginning of an enduring tradition in Fargo-Moorhead.

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