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Mahalaya 2024 Date And Time

Mahalaya is observed on the Amavasya day in the Hindu month of Ashwin or Ashwayuja (September-October). Mahalaya 2024 date is October 2, Wednesday. Time is 9:04 PM on October 1 to 11:05 PM on October 2. The last day of Pitru Paksha fortnight, the period sacred for doing rituals and offering oblations to the souls of the departed ancestors, ends on Mahalaya day. Durga Puja rituals also commence on Mahalaya day.

The rituals and rites on 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.

Shradh on Mahalaya can be performed to all those who departed from the world on any day or anytime. The ritual can be performed by both men and women. It is one of the way of showing one's profound sense of gratitude to the departed souls for their blessings. There is a belief that the souls of ancestors attain peace and moksha after the ritual.

The Hindus do not see any dichotomy between the visible and the the invisible worlds, between the living and the dead. Hinduism brings the invisible worlds into continual contact with the visible. The dead are not regarded as dead by merely as living elsewhere.

There are five parts to a Shraddha - invocation, worshipping through fire or any other means, feeding living beings, food offering to ancestors and offering water to ancestors.

The offerings generally consists of til (sesame seeds), water and pinda (cooked rice balls). Other food is also offered according to local custom. The pindas offered are later given to crows.

Devotees also perform the ritual at sacred place like Gaya, Prayagraj, Pushkar, Varanasi, Kurukshetra, Haridwar and on the banks of sacred rivers. 

Brief Idea On How To Perform Mahalaya

Men performing the ceremony sit facing south and women sit facing east. Darbha grass is spread on the ground with the tips facing south. The devotee kneels on the ground with the left knee touching the ground. Cooked rice made into balls with ghee and gingelly seeds and holy water are offered to the ancestors who are invoked. Those wearing the sacred thread perform the ceremony by reversing the sacred thread from the left shoulder to the right. Relations who congregate for sraddha are known as sapinda (sharers of the pinda) or samanodaka (sharers of water).

The ritual of Mahalaya is mentioned in the Hindu scriptures like Agni Purana, Kurma Purana, Padma Purana, Vishnu Purana, Grihya Sutras, Smritis of Manu and Yajnavalkya.

Mahalaya – Durga Puja

Mahalaya also heralds the advent of Goddess Durga to earth. Mahalaya marks the beginning of ‘Devipaksha’ and the countdown to Durga Puja.

On Mahalaya day, invitation is given to Goddess Durga to descend on to the earth along with her family. In Bengal, Goddess Saraswati 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 bhajans is the – ‘Jago Tumi Jago.’ The Chandi Kavya or Chandi Stotram is also recited on the day.

A Detail Guide on Various Shradh In a Year