Sheetalashtami, or Sheetala Ashtami, is an auspicious day dedicated to Goddess Sheetala in the month of Chaitra (March – April) as per the traditional calendar followed in
North India. In 2014, the date of Sheetalashtami Vrat is March 24. It is observed on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) in Chaitra month. It is believed that observing this Vrat will help in curing various diseases.
Goddess Sheetala is propitiated to get rid of several diseases like chicken pox. A unique ritual of offering stale food is observed during Sheetalashtami. Food need for Sheetala Ashtami puja is prepared a day before in advance.
People offer various food items to the Sheetala Mata on the day. People also feed old people on the day and take their blessings.
It must be noted here that some communities observe the eighth day of Krishna Paksha of every month as Sheetalashtami. But the most auspicious one is the Chaitra Krishna Paksha Ashtami.