Mahalaya, which falls on September 19 this year, marks the beginning of Durga Puja.
Mahalaya, which falls on September 19 this year, marks the beginning of Durga Puja. As per Bengali calendar, the festival is falling on Ashvin 02, 1414. It is believed that on this day, Ma Durga was created by gods not only to defeat evil Mahishasura but destroy all evil powers from the earth. The day is also marked as the end of Pitra Paksha and beginning of Devi Paksha. As per The Statesman, the goddess is considered as the epitome of power showing victory of good over evil. It is also believed that Lord Rama performed Durga Puja on this day before leaving for Lanka to rescue his wife Sita, whom Ravana had kidnapped. Bengalis relate this day with the story of how Ma Durga defeated Mahishasura, demon who was creating havoc on earth. Gods joined together to create devi, who blessed with powers from them all defeated the demon in a battle, the report added.
This year, the timing of Mahalaya Amavasya tarpan starts at 2:22 AM on September 19 and will end on 1:29 AM the next day, as per durgautsav.com. It further said that the Kutup Muhurat will be between 12:30 PM to 1:19 PM, Rohina Muhurat from 1:19 PM to 2:07 PM and Aaparahna Kal is between 2:07 PM to 4:33 PM. On the occasion of Mahalaya, people pay homage to their ancestors and also offer clothes, food and sweets to Brahmins. They wake up early morning to recite prayers from scripts. Food is mostly cooked in silver or copper utensils before the offering is made on banana leafs, an NDTV report said. The food that is offered generally includes payash, rice, vegetable and pulses.
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The holy occasion of Mahalaya marks the beginning of Durga Puja, which will end on September 30 with Dussehra or visarjan. For people from Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Tripura and Bihar, the main puja after Mahalaya starts from Shashti. It is believed that on these days, the goddess comes to her parents’ home to meet them. Wearing new clothes, people are seen chatting and roaming around in different pandals. On next three days of Saptami, Astami and Navami, people are seen waking up early to reach pandals before pushpanjali. Prasad is distributed after the prayers. People are also offered bhog after it is offered to the goddess in various pandals. Cultural programmes are held in the evening after the Sandhya Aarti. Visarjan is done on the last day, with a pledge as Bengalis say “aasche bochor abaar hobe (The festival will be celebrated again next year).”