Kumari Puja – The Worship of a Girl Child

Kumari Puja ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImagethe worship of a girl child between 5 to 12-is a unique practice observed at the time of  Durga Puja in Eastern India. kumari means an unmarried girl. Kumari is not only dressed but  also painted as goddess. She is worshipped  by the senior members of the family and the locality .Starting from the priest to the oldest member of the family, everybody treats  the child as  goddess. We witness  the subversion of the social hierarchy when the senior members touch her feet and the girl child acting as goddess offers blessings to the elderly people .She is made to look and act as a divine being. Kumari is looked upon as a virgin-a fountain-head of creation. She creates, nurtures and nourishes this universe thwarting the challenges emanating from the forces of Evil. Thus the kumari becomes an embodiment of universal motherhood. As the priest observes the rituals and  chants mantras , the homely girl  child of the family  epitomizes divinity.  Those who assemble to watch this puja stand in awe. But this spell of divinity does not last long. As the rituals come to an end  and the chanting of mantra dies out, the familiar girl child wakes up to the world of reality.