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Durga Puja 2020 Special: Why Do Bengali Married Women Wear ‘Lal Paad Shada Saree’ During Pujo? Here’s What the Traditional Attire Actually Signifies

Durga Puja 2020 will start from October 22. Even though there is still some more time left, for Bengalis the pujo feels have already arrived. It is time for all the shopping, especially for women purchasing the extremely gorgeous, white sari with red border, famously known as Lal Paad Shada Saree. The traditional look is synonymous to Durga Puja and the classic weave is loved by Bengali women. The lal paad shada saree is a symbol of tradition and is believed to be good luck among bongs. But there is more stories, beliefs and traditions associated to the look which is typically adorned on the last day of Durga Puja—Dashami or any special occasion. So, why do Bengali women wear the white sari with red border during pujo? In this article, let us know more about the traditional attire and what it actually signifies.

Why Bengali Women Wear Lal Paad Shada Saree?

With the sound of dhaak-dhol, smeel of dhunuchi in the pandals, you will women wearing white and red border sari, applying sindoor (vermilion red powder). It defines beauty, traditional and many things more that are not really known by everyone. Not only on Durga Puja, the sari is worn by married Bengali Hindu women across length and breadth of India, during auspicious occasions. But like many traditional attire, this one is not without some problematic riders. Durga Puja 2020 Virtual Celebration Ideas: From Online Mukh Darshan to Enjoying Pujor Bhog at Home, 5 Ways to Celebrate the Festival at Home. 

Lal paad saree is traditionally meant for the shodhoba (married women) and the colours are forbidden for widows, who earlier were rarely made part of the Durga Puja celebrations. Even spinsters are barred from wearing the white sari with red border.

Abeer Gupta of School of Design, Ambedkar University once explained the traditional look. He was quoted as saying, “Red would be the marker of married women, coupled with the “pola” which was derived from the red gala used to seal letters. If one were to go back to a time when Bengal was far less affluent, this would be the most economical way of doing so.” Navratri 2020 Colours Calendar For 9 Days: Date-Wise List of All 9 Colours to Wear Every Day During Sharad Navaratri Festival to Please Goddess Durga. 

The reason the lal paad shada saree stands so significant during Durga Puja is because the combination of colours is connected to Goddess Durga. In Bengal, women, young, old, married, un-married, are referred as ‘Maa.’ The combination of white saree with red border coupled with the red pola (bangle) and sindoor is all said to be a part of deliberate technique. Indian art historian, Jasleen Dhamija explains the red border twirls around the body in such a way that it leads to a woman’s eyes, travel to the red sindoor on the forehead, enhancing the beauty of her eyes—which is the most iconic representation of the goddess.

The look just add more charisma to the festival celebration. Today, not just married women, even single girls love to drape the lal paad saree and the tradition is revised with everyone including widows to be a part of welcoming Maa Durga home and enjoy the festival. Even though we are in a pandemic, and the celebration will be low-key, the spirit of Durga Puja 2020, the joy around the pujo feel, and traditions will remain.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 14, 2020 02:54 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).

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