Mahalaya: The beginning of the event that brings communities together

Mahalaya is one of the special days in the history of the Bengali culture. It marks the beginning of the festival of Navratri. On this day, Bengalis around the country wake up early and wear new clothes while listening to their special prayers. They meet and greet their families and friends on this occassion. Let us learn about the significance of this day here

Mahalaya is amongst the phases of the ‘Pitru Paksha’. Celebrated on the day of Amavasya, it marks the conclusion of ‘Pitru- Paksha’ It is believed that Durga Maa killed the Asuras on this day

Mahalaya Pitru
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The ‘tarpan’ offering ritual is conducted on this day in the memory of the departed souls of the family at the banks of the river Ganga with an empty stomach

Mahalaya Tarpan
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It is said that only a woman had the power to kill the Asuras as they were creating a havoc during their existence. In order to tackle the problems created by Asuras, Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati and decided to meditate for several years so she would get the strength to kill them

Mahalaya meditation
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The king of Asuras ‘Mahisasura’ wanted to marry Goddess Parvati and also insulted Lord Shiva. He asked his servants to apply force on Parvati if she denies to come along

Mahalaya Mahishasura
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It is then when Goddess Parvati took various forms, one of which was Durga Maa to kill Asuras with the help of celestial weapons that the gods gave her in order to do justice. This form that she took was on the day of Mahalaya

Mahalaya Trishul
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After this incident, the king himself went on to fight against Goddess Parvati. This fight went on for 9 days. The king Mahisasura was defeated finally and killed. Goddess Parvati is hence also known as ‘MAHISASURAMARDINI’ and this incident is still celebrated as Navratri

Mahalaya Durga Puja
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Bengalis on this day, welcome their daughter ‘Uma’ for 5 days during Durga Puja and forget all their miseries and start a fresh new life

Mahalaya Durga Pandal
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The women during this period drape ‘Laal Paar Shada’ is a very unique manner. This draping style is known as ‘Aat Poure’ in Bengali and is worn on Durga Ashtami and Dashami (the 8th and 10th days of Durga Puja)

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