Mahalaya festival which is called Sarva Pitra Amavasya, celebrated on the Amavasya day of Ashwin or Ashwayuja and this festival indicates the end of Pitru Paksha. Mahalaya 2023 is going to be celebrated on October 14. As it is the last day of the Pitru Paksha fortnight, the sacred period for performing all rituals & presenting rituals to the deceased ancestors’ souls comes to an end, and Durga Puja rites begin. On this day, ceremonies as well as rites are performed along the seaside or on the riverbanks early in the morning. On Mahalaya Paksha, the primary offering presented to the deceased ancestors is food. It is believed that the offerings on this day will help the souls of those who have passed on. Moreover, people donate food as a form of charity
What Does Mahalaya Mean?
It signifies the beginning of Durga Puja festival in Bengal. On this day, it is believed that Goddess Durga descends to Earth.
History Of Mahalaya
As per Hindu mythology, Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswar together created Goddess Durga on Mahalaya to defeat Mahishasura who is the demon king. That’s why the day is signified as the arrival date of Maa Durga from Kailash Parvat with her divine powers.
According to Hindu devotees, Mahishasura was blessed with the power of being undefeated by any human or God. As a result, Mahishasura attacked Devtas & forced them to flee Devlok as they were defeated in the war. Then, every Devta started praying to Adi Shakti, along with Lord Vishnu to save them from the wrath of Mahishasura. As per the beliefs, it is known that a divine light emerged from all Devtas’ bodies to form Maa Durga. She fought the demon king for nine days and killed him on the 10th day. On this auspicious day, Mahalaya, devotees wake up early and chant hymns from the Devi Mahatmya text & listen to the ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ mantra.
Mahalaya 2023 – Date, Time
|The date of Mahalaya is October 14||Saturday||The time will be from 9:29 PM (on October 13, 2023) to 10:54 PM (on October 14, 2023).|
Mahalaya Bengali Calander Date
Date: আশ্বিন ২৬, ১৪৩০, শনিবার, কৃষ্ণ পক অমাবস্যা upto ১১:২৫ PM followed by Sukla Paksha প্রতিপদ
Other Important Timings On Mahalaya 2023:
- Sunrise on October 14 at 6:27 am.
- Sunset on October 14 at 5:58 PM.
- Amavasya Tithi Timings are between October 13 at 09:51 PM and October 14 at 11:25 PM.
- Aparahna Kaal on October 14 between 01:22 PM & 03:40 PM.
- Kutup Muhurat on October 14 between 11:49 AM & 12:36 PM.
- Rohina Muhurat on October 14 between 12:36 PM & 01:22 PM.
The Special Thing About Mahalaya – Durga Puja 2023
This festival welcomes the arrival of Goddess Durga. It signifies the starting of ‘Devipaksha’ from when people begin to countdown the remaining days of Durga Puja. On this auspicious day, Maa Durga is invited with her family to descend to the Earth.
Rituals Of Mahalaya 2023
The rituals of Mahalaya hold great significance, as they are believed to invoke the goddess Durga and seek her blessings. Here are the typical rituals and practices associated with Mahalaya in 2023
- Listening to “Mahishasura Mardini”: The most important and traditional ritual of Mahalaya is listening to the recitation of “Mahishasura Mardini,” a special hymn that narrates the story of Goddess Durga’s victory over the demon Mahishasura. This is typically broadcast on the radio and television early in the morning.
- Pre-Dawn Bath: Devotees wake up before dawn and take a holy bath in rivers or other sacred water bodies, if possible. This act is believed to purify the body and soul.
- Tarpan and Shradh: Many people perform Tarpan and Shradh rituals to pay homage to their ancestors. This involves offering water, sesame seeds, and prayers to the departed souls to seek their blessings and ensure their peaceful journey.
- Offering Food: Devotees often prepare special food offerings, such as rice, lentils, and vegetables, and offer them to the deceased ancestors as a part of the Shradh ritual.
- Decorating Homes and Altars: Homes and puja altars are cleaned and beautifully decorated with flowers, leaves, and traditional alpana (rangoli) designs. Images of Goddess Durga are also placed on these altars.
- Lighting Oil Lamps: Oil lamps or diyas are lit to symbolize the victory of light over darkness and to invite positive energy into the home.
- Making Anandamarg: Anandamarg is a symbolic representation of the Goddess Durga’s face, created using clay or turmeric. This is placed on the altar along with the idol of the goddess.
- Chanting Mantras and Prayers: Devotees recite Durga Saptashati, a collection of hymns and mantras dedicated to Goddess Durga. Special prayers and aarti are also performed to seek her blessings.
- Fasting: Some people observe a fast on Mahalaya day, abstaining from food until they complete the rituals and prayers.
- Listening to Devotional Songs: Apart from “Mahishasura Mardini,” many devotees also listen to devotional songs and bhajans dedicated to Goddess Durga throughout the day.
- Visiting Holy Places: Some devotees visit temples and holy places associated with Goddess Durga to offer their prayers and seek her divine blessings.
Significance of Mahalaya
- Hindu mythology says that Mahalaya commemorates the return of Maa Durga with her offsprings to her birthplace. This auspicious day marks the beginning of Maa Durga’s trip to her house. The puja starts on the 6th day, called Maha Sashthi when devotees are seen greeting the Goddess with grandeur. The deity of Maa Durga is exposed on that day in front of all.
- “Dhak“, played by the ‘dhakis’ is a type of drum that is connected to this festival as well as with Bengali culture.
- The seventh day is called “Maha Saptami”, when people immerse a banana tree in water before dawn. After that, the tree is washed and draped in a saree, usually a red-bordered one. In Bengali, people call it “Kola Bou”, which needs to be placed on Ganesha’s right side. “Kola Bou” is regarded as Ganesha’s bride. However, all people do not have the same beliefs. A few historians & cultural revisionists think that it is another portrayal of Durga.
- Whereas a few people believe that “Kola Bou” indicates the nine diverse plant species. In this ritual, priests need to tie a bundle of eight plants to the banyan tree’s trunk. According to this viewpoint, these nine diverse leaves are united to form “Kola Bou” indicating Durga’s plant form.
Durga Puja is the biggest cultural event in Bengali Hindu society. On the Mahalaya day, they wake up at 4 a.m. to listen to the sacred lines of ‘Mahisasura Mardini’ of Birendra Krishna Bhadra. Wish you a happy mahalaya 2023