Toronto’s first barir pujo marks fifth year of celebration | Indiafleurit


Toronto: The Chakrabarti family of the Greater Toronto Area (Brampton) began celebrating Durga Puja five years ago to revive the family’s lost traditions and since then have won the title of the first Durga family celebrations Puja abroad in Canada.

The family observes the festival with the utmost purity and holiness, following all family tradition and the Hindu almanac, and is a benchmark among all Durga Pujas observed in Toronto.

Husband-wife duo Suman Charaborti and Piyali Chakraborti, started puja five years ago with the support of their childhood friends from popular South Point High School in Kolkata.

“It was one day that I had just met our daddy (priest) over coffee and I told him how we celebrated Durga Puja at my home in Kolkata and how I miss it here in Toronto, despite so many pujas that unfold around us, ”says Suman Chakraborti, founder of Lundy Para Chakraborti Pujo as he is popularly known among residents.

“The coffee meeting was so positive between the two of us that he agreed to do the puja for us here, and that’s how we initially decided to start. But Durga Puja is not a simple puja like satyanarayan or lakshmi puja. We needed manpower so I contacted my school friends. In one call, we all came together and formed a core group that empowered us to make it a big celebration for ourselves and for the people around us, ”says Suman.

“We start to observe all the rituals from Mahalaya. It may be surprising to many, but we stop cooking non-vegetarian foods or even Mahalaya onion and garlic foods because the Devi Durga urn has been established ever since, ”says Piyali Chakraborti.

With COVID around, the family puja has yet garnered a good response from close friends and circles.

“Our doors were open for everyone for the past few years minus COVID. Last year we did this among our inner circle only, while the previous year we had over 300 people visiting and having had bhog prasad here. This year we have followed all COVID protocols and limited our gathering to close friends, families and a few close acquaintances, “says Suman Chakraborti.

“Our South Point gang of friends and their spouses have worked hard to decorate the house, especially the basement where the puja takes place. Some of us cooked bhog prashad and khichuri for everyone, ”Piyali adds. “Our menu was different every day, following the sattwik style of Hindu cuisine, we made sure that there is a variety of tasty food that we can serve to our guests.”

Family and friends have created a cute wall of memories on the stairs to remember the first year and consecutive years of Puja. Besides the ritual traditions, the family also maintained the cultural traditions associated with the Puja, which were lacking in many pujas in Toronto, especially due to COVID.

There was dhaak and dancing, 108 cool lamps and lotuses for Sandhi Puja, adda and nostalgia all flowed in the right proportion as the goddess was worshiped in the Chakraborti residence. Whether it is the Sandhi pujo, or the evening adda Nabami, or the Dashami sindur khela, the Chakrabortis and their friends have brought back a lot of nostalgia for the Bengalis in Canada.

“This is the second time that I have visited Lundy Para Pujo with my family, and I have to say it is exceptional, brings back many of our childhood memories that have been kind of buried over the last twenty years at abroad, far from Durga Puja in Kolkata, ”says Sanjukta Chakrabarti and Bob Sarkar.

For Meghna Ghosh, a 20-year-old of Bengali descent, “I have been to Calcutta several times during Durga Puja. I remember the party spirit there and loved it when we went. I missed this many times when chatting with my grandparents and families in India. But now, because of this Pujo here, I am enjoying it every moment, although far from Kolkata.

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