Kali Puja, also known as Shyama Puja or Mahanisha Puja, is a festival celebrated to honour Goddess Kali. The festival is celebrated a lot of enthusiasm in West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, and Tripura. Kali Puja coincides with Lakshmi Puja of Diwali. After Durga Puja, Kali Puja is considered the biggest festival in Bengal and Assam. Devotees worship Goddess Kali in their homes and pandals at night. She is worshipped with tantric rites as well as in the brahmanical tradition, animal sacrifice is a must in the former tradition while in the latter one only fruits and flowers are offered. She is offered a bhog of khichdi, luchi (a type of puri) and aloo dom (spiced potatoes).
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Kali is a symbol of triumph over death and is depicted wearing a garland of skulls holding a head of a demon in one hand and a sharp weapon on the other. It is said that she was born to save earth and heaven from cruel demons.
Kali Puja was first performed by King Krishnachandra of Navadvipa in the 18th century. It gained popularity only in the 19th century after his grandson Ishwarchandra and the wealthy landowners started organising it on a grand scale.
Bhoot Chaturdashi is celebrated a day prior to Kali Puja. The day is observed by lighting 14 diyas in remembrance of ancestors. It is believed that the spirits of ancestors descend upon the earth. There is also a tradition to eat 14 types of green vegetables.
Amavasya tithi begins: 10:27 pm on November 6
Amavasya tithi ends = 9:31 pm on November 7