Mahalaya is celebrated by the devotees of Maa Durga a week before the Durga Puja celebrations begin across the globe. It marks the beginning of Debi Paksha (the era of the goddess) and is observed on the last day of Pitru Paksha (the 16-day lunar day period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors/Pitrs). Mahalaya, therefore, means the arrival of Goddess Durga, and the festival centred around her worship – Durga Puja – heralds.
During Mahalaya, elders of the family pay tributes to their ancestors by performing Tarpan – a ritual in which water is offered to the ancestors’ souls on the banks of Ganga. People of West Bengal mark the auspicious occasion of Mahalaya by listening to an early morning rendition of Mahishasura Mardini – a set of Sanskrit recitations on India’s oldest radio show aired by the All India Radio Kolkata.
When is Mahalaya 2022?
This year Hindus will celebrate Mahalaya on Sunday, September 25 – the end of the Pitru Paksha, also known as Shradh or Shraddh.
Mahalaya 2022 Shubh Muhurat and Rituals:
On Mahalaya, Amavasya Tithi begins at 03:12 am on September 25 and ends at 03:23 am on September 26. According to Drik Panchang, Kutup Muhurat will last from 11:48 am to 12:37 pm, Rohina Muhurat from 12:37 pm to 01:25 pm, and Aparahna Kaal from 01:25 pm to 03:50 pm.
On Mahalaya, Bengalis and devotees of Maa Durga wake up early in the morning to perform Tarpan. They offer prayers to the departed souls of their ancestors, give bhog to the Brahmins, and alms to the needy. Additionally, on the day of Mahalaya, sculptors only design Goddess Durga’s eyes, fill colours in them and perform a special puja before doing the same. People also listen to an early morning rendition of Mahishasura Mardini on All India Radio and recite Chandipath and other devotional mantras.
Mahalaya 2022 Significance:
Mahalaya has special significance, especially for Bengalis, as this day marks the beginning of Durga Puja celebrations in West Bengal. The day marks the arrival of Goddess Durga to Earth from Kailash Parvat with her divine powers. It also marks the last day of Pitru Paksha and is also known as Sarva Pitra Amavasya. It is believed that in the morning, the first ancestors are given farewell, and then, in the evening, Maa Durga comes to earth to bless her people.
Durga Puja will begin this year on Saturday, October 1 and end on Wednesday, October 5.