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Today – October 12, 2015 – is Mahalaya – Shradh Rituals – Durga Puja Rituals Begin

Today – October 12, 2015 – is Mahalaya, the last day of Pitru Paksha Shraddh fortnight. Prayers are offered to dead parents, relatives and ancestors at early morning on Mahalaya day through Shradh – Pinda Daan - Tarpan ritual. Mahalaya day also marks the beginning of the Durga Puja rituals in Bengal and Eastern parts of India. Mahalaya heralds the advent of Goddess Durga to earth along with her four children Ganesh, Kartikeya, Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi.

The rituals and rites on Pitru Paksha Mahalaya day are performed early morning on riverbanks or on seashore. The main offering made on Mahalaya Paksha to ancestors is food. It is believed that the offering made during this period will benefit all the departed souls. Charity in the form of food is also done by people.

In 2015, it is highly auspicious as it is Somvati Amavasya - Amavasi falling on Monday.

Mahalaya – Durga Puja

On Mahalaya day, invitation is given to Goddess Durga to descend on to the earth along with her family. In Bengal, Goddess Saraswathi and Goddess Lakshmi are considered part of the family of Durga.

Chanting mantras and singing bhajans dedicated to Goddess Durga is the main event on Mahalaya day. The most famous bhajan is the – ‘Jago Tumi Jago.’ The Chandi Kavya or Chandi Stotram is also recited on the day.

Tomorrow is the first day of Navrtari - it begins with Ghatasthapana.