Durgashtmi – Ghost Festival

There is a festival in India called Durgaashtmi, and what happens is that ghost enter the human body – ghosts like past spirits. They enter the body because maybe they haven’t gone to heaven or something like that. Like they haven’t found piece in their life or death. On the festival day these spirits want to show that they are still around and need peace, so their enter some women’s bodies, and these women become uncontrollable. So people say that they have supernatural powers or force or energy and totally become crazy. That happens in India – you can watch videos and stuff. Sometimes they chain these kind of people up. So all these Indian priests come and try to provide peace to the spirits by saying mantras in Sanskrit. And basically these mantras are supposed to get the ghost out of their body. Many priests believe the ghosts are a ghost of this goddess called Durga. She is considered to be a mother figure that’s super angry that won’t go out off your body. Some people also die from this process because they get so crazy and start to drink blood and stuff. It’s a very weird festival, at the end of the day they try to get the ghosts to quit the bodies of the people and the people aren’t dead yet.

Context: [informant] The main aim of the festival is to provide peace to the spirits and get them out of the world of the living. And this is of course scary also, because if Google Durgaashmi ghost you can find that girls are really.. I don’t know… like there are really ghosts coming in the bodies.

Thoughts: Seemingly possessed people are a phenomenon all over the world, and I think it can be looked at from many different lenses. Psychologists might call it psychosis, and religious people might call it possession. Regardless, it is very interesting that India has created a festival around