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Kali is one of the famous Goddess in Hindu Culture. Goddess Kali in Hinduism is called Goddess of time and death, or the black goddess. Kali comes from the Sanskrit word Kal which means time. There is nothing that escapes the all-consuming march of time. She is one of the most significant deities worshipped in the eastern part of the country. Kali is a complex Goddess who is known as the destroyer of evil forces. She was first mentioned in ancient texts not as a Goddess, but as one of the seven black tongues of Agni, the Hindu God of Fire. She emerged as an individual later, as a demon slayer.
It is said that just as all colors merge into black, the universe eventually merges into Kali, the fierce and feisty epitome of Shakti who also happens to be a loving mother to all those who seek her blessings with devotion.
Kali is said to be the personification of Shakti (female power), which she wielded to kill all the demons and save the earth. The killing increased her blood lust, which took hold and she started killing anyone she felt had done a wrong. She was only stopped when Lord Shiva intervened and lay down in front of her. Kali is often depicted with her tongue hanging out, depicting the moment when she realized she had stood on Lord Shiva and her rage subsided.
It is partly correct to say Kali is a Goddess of Death but she brings the death of the ego as the illusory self-centered view of reality. Of all the forms of Devi, she is the most compassionate because She provides moksha or liberation to her children.
The appearance of Kali: Maa Kali has black Skin which is often shown as blue. The blackness represents her devouring, transcendental nature. Just as the color black absorbs all other colors, all other names and forms disappear within her. She has four arms, one with a sword, one with the head of a demon, and the other two hands to bless her worshippers.
Her three eyes represent past, present and future the three modes of time. She wears a skirt of severed human hands that signifies work and freedom from the cycle of karma. She also wears a necklace of fifty human skulls, which represent the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, and symbolizes infinite knowledge.
Kali Puja: Kali puja is a regional public holiday observed in the several Indian States on the new moon in the month of Kartik. It is also known as Dipanwita Kali Puja, Shyama Puja, or Mahanisha Puja in Hindu culture which is dedicated to Goddess Kali.
Kali Puja is one of the most significant festivals in West Bengal, Orissa, Assam. Kali puja is celebrated on the new moon day or Amavasya of the Hindu month Kartik. Devotees make several offerings to the Goddess and stay up all night praying. The overnight vigil is inundated by chants and tales about the Goddess courage and bravery.
Kali puja is celebrated to seek the help of the Goddess in destroying evil and get her blessings for general happiness, health, wealth, and peace.
The puja rituals of Kali Puja starts at night. All Devotees perform the Puja using red hibiscus flowers as it is said to be her favorite. Fish is one of the most important items that is offered to Maa Kali along with rice, sweets, etc.
The date of Kali Puja falls on the same day on Diwali. So when most of the people celebrate Diwali and worship Goddess Lakshmi at the same time in Kolkata(Bengalis), Assam(Assamese) and Orissa(Odias) people worship Goddess Kali and celebrate Kali Puja.
Nowadays, Durga Puja and Kali Puja both are the biggest festivals in Kolkata and Assam.