Hal Sashti or Hala Shasht – Balaram Shasti

Hala Shasht, or Balaram Shasti, observed in Bhadrapad month in North India is dedicated to Lord Balaram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. In 2014, the date of Hal Sashti is August 16. Hal Sashti is observed on the sixth day of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) in Bhadra month. Hala (plough) was the weapon of Lord Balram.

Legend has it that Lord Balram was transferred from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini to avoid persecution by Kamsa. In Vrindavan, after the arrival of Lord Krishna, Balaram and Krishna participated in numerous adventures. Balaram was also the Guru of Duryodhana and Bhima. He avoided joining the army of either Pandavas or Kauravas in the 18-day Mahabharata war.

Special prayers are offered to Lord Balaram on the day. A partial fasting is undertaken on the day. Most people, mainly married women, only consume buffalo milk and curd. People pray for a peaceful life and for the welfare of the children.

A designated place is plastered with cow dung and branches of trees like ber, gular, and palash are planted and worshipped.

Unmarried women undertake the Chandr Shasti Vrat on the day.