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Sheetala Ashtami 2024 date - Importance Of Sheetla Ashtami

Sheetala Ashtami is dedicated to Goddess Sheetla in the month of Chaitra (March – April) as per the traditional calendar followed in North India. Sheetala Ashtami 2024 date is April 2. Sheetala Ashtami Vrat is observed on the eighth day (ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) in Chaitra month. The popular belief is that observing this Vrata will help in curing various diseases.

As per Skanda Purana, Goddess Shetala is the healer of epidemics and diseases. When great epidemics and contagious diseases affect living beings on earth, Mother Goddess appears as Sheetala Mata to help her children. She holds a broomstick or neem leaves in one hand which symbolizes her power to purify the environment and a pot filled with medicinal fluid which heals the infected ones.

The story of Goddess Sheetla mentions about demon Jwarasura. He is a personification all kinds of epidemics and contagious diseases. When the actions of Jwarasura increases, people become sick and die. Medicines could not cure the sickness unleashed by the demon.

Therefore people prayed to Mother Goddess Shakti. She appeared in the form of Sheetala Mata and protected her devotees. She purified the environment and got rid of diseases from air and water. She defeated the demon and turned him into a donkey. He apologized for his actions. She made him her vehicle.

Importance Of Sheetla Ashtami

Goddess Sheetla is propitiated to get rid of several diseases like chickenpox in many regions in India. A unique ritual of offering stale food is observed during Sheetala Ashtami. Food needed 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 Sheetala Ashtami. But the most auspicious one is the Chaitra Krishna Paksha Ashtami.

How is Sheetala Ashtami Observed?

  • The prasad or bhog required for puja on Ashtami is prepared on the evening of the previous day.
  • The dishes prepared are made using jaggery and oil.
  • Sweet roti, sweet rice, besan and potato puris and gulgule etc are prepared. In some regions, black gram soaked overnight is offered on the next day.
  • On the Ashtami day, the bhog is taken to a Sheetla Mata temple and is offered along with lassi made using raw milk.
  • Sweet roti is offered along with butter and curd.
  • Raw lassi is offered widely on the day to Sheetla Mata.
  • Young girls are also worshipped on the day in some regions.
  • Hot items are not eaten on Ashtami day.