Mahalaya marks the beginning of the 10-day festival Durga Puja, the famous and most awaited festival of West Bengal. Mahalaya, 2021 date is on 6th October. On this day, it is believed that Goddess Durga begins her journey to her maternal home, i.e., home with her children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik, and Ganesh.
As per the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the day of Amavasya in the month of Ashwin. It marks the end of the Pritipaksha/ Shradh – the 16 days dedicated to paying homage to the ancestors.
While Durga Puja is celebrated with full zeal in West Bengal, Odhisa, and nearby cities, the rest of the country celebrates this festival with equal enthusiasm in the name of Navaratri.
As Mahalaya marks the end of the Priripaksha, it is believed to be the beginning of good times. The devotees perform “tarpan” on this fortnight, a ritual of giving a holy dip in the Ganges or other sacred water bodies. This indicates the end of the Krishnapaksha and the start of Sukhlapaksha, the brighter times.
On this day, the sculptors making the idol of Goddess Durga start painting the eyes of the idol. They start giving shape to the idol months back, but it is only on this day they make the eyes. Want to know why? This tradition is called “Chakkhudaan” – the process of waking up Maa Durga.
On the dawn of Mahalaya day, the Mahishasuramardini (the wake-up call) is played in every Bengali home to wake up the Goddess to begin her journey to Earth.
This day has a special significance in the life of Bengalis. Whether they are staying with their family in Bengal or around any corner of the world, every Bengali member wakes up early in the morning and tunes to this. You can even hear it live on radio channels in Kolkata.
Mahishasuramardini is a combination of the Chandipath by Birendra Krishna Bhadra and other devotional songs dedicated to the win of good over evil when Goddess Durga assassinated the evil Mahisasur. The music of this composition was given by the famous music director Pankaj Mullick. With other top Bengali singers, Birendra Krishna Bhadra and Pankaj Mullick created this outstanding melodious version.
This tradition has been following the same path since 1931 in every Bengali house. No Bengali ever misses playing this tune on the dawn of Mahalaya. It will be played again this year on Wednesday, 6th October 2021 – the day of Mahalaya.
|Monday||11th October 2021||Mahasashti|
|Tuesday||12th October 2021||Mahasaptami|
|Wednesday||13th October 2021||Mahaashtami|
|Thursday||14th October 2021||Mahanavami|
|Friday||15th October 2021||Vijaya Dashami|
This year, Goddess Durga will be making her journey to Earth on the horse! She is ready with her carriage to spread happiness, power, and strength. Are you ready with your Durga Puja 2021 preparations to celebrate the much-awaited festival of West Bengal?