As the festival of Navratri and Durga Puja is just around the corner, devotees have started their preparation to welcome the goddess on Earth. It all begins with celebrating Mahalaya, which starts on the first day of Durga Puja – it falls on September 19 this year. The day is also the ending of Shradh 2017 also known as Pitru Paksha. According to the Bengali calendar, this is the day when Goddess Durga was created by other Gods with an aim to destroy not just the evil Mahishasura but also every other evil power in the universe. According to the Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga is touted to be the epitome of positive power gaining victory over evil. Devotees pray for happiness and prosperity and blessings from the goddess.
Significance of Mahalaya
As it falls on a no moon day, for many Mahalaya is also known as Mahalaya Amavasya. The day is of prime importance, especially for Bengalis, as it marks the advent of Goddess Durga on Earth. Special prayers are offered in order to welcome her with people arranging feasts and decorating their surroundings.
According to a report by DailyBhaskar.com, Mahalaya is said to be the time when Goddess Durga killed the asuras (demons). The day is celebrated with huge enthusiasm in several parts of West Bengal and other states too. Devotees arrange plays she kills the asuras and brings peace in the world.
While Durga Puja is celebrated for seven days, it is said that the first day, Mahalaya, is when Goddess Durga started her journey to earth (her paternal home).
Here is the Durga Puja calender:
September 19, 2017 – Mahalaya
September 25, 2017 – Maha Panchami
September 26, 2017 – Maha Sasthi
September 27, 2017 – Maha Saptami
September 28, 2017 – Maha Ashtami
September 29, 2017 – Maha Nabami
September 30, 2017 – Bijaya Dashami