October 4, 2021 3:00:10 pm
Durga Puja 2021: Mahalaya is considered to be the day Goddess Durga defeated the demon Mahishasura. It signifies the end of Pitru Paksha Shradh and the beginning of Durga Puja for the Bengali community. Pitru Paksha is a period of worshipping ancestors and the deceased, and to pray for their souls.
As mentioned earlier, in West Bengal, Mahalaya marks the beginning of Durga Puja festivities. The rest of the community living outside the state and around the world also observe it as such. Mahalaya is the day when the goddess is believed to have descended on Earth. Matamaha (‘mother’s father’) or Dauhitra (‘daughter’s son’) also marks the first day of the month of Ashvin and beginning of the bright fortnight.
In 2021, Mahalaya will be celebrated on October 6.
The day is also observed to remember the power of truth and courage, and how good always prevails over evil. According to Indian mythology, Durga was created by all supreme godheads and powers of the universe to slay Mahishasura, who was wreaking havoc on Earth and in heaven.
How is Mahalaya observed?
On this day, Bengalis traditionally wake up in the morning to listen to Mahishasura Mardini, an audio montage of Chandipath recitation from the scriptural verses of Sri Sri Chandi along with devotional songs. Then they proceed to make food and water offerings to their ancestors.
It is believed that the goddess begins her journey from Mount Kailash to her maternal home on Earth on this day, either on a palanquin, or on a boat, an elephant or a horse.
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