When is Mahalaya in 2014 – Well the Date for Mahalaya 2014 is Thursday, 23rd September.
Mahalaya(महालय) is the day that ushers the countdown for ‘Durga Puja’, the 5 days long celebration of Devi Durga’s arrival on Earth celebrated in autumn. In Hindu ethos, Mahalaya(মহালয়া) is illustrated as the commencement of festivities as well as an auspicious time to pay homage to ancestors(पितृ पक्ष). According to the Hindu almanac ‘Panji’, Mahalaya marks the end of Pitrupaksha and beginning of Devipaksha.
The important days associated with Durga puja are:
- Mahalaya – 23-09-2014
- Shashthi – 29-09-2014
- Maha Saptami – 30-09-2014
- Maha Ashtami – 1-10-2014
- Maha Navami – 2-10-2014
- Bijoya Dashami – 3-10-2014
Legend of the Mahalaya
According to Hindu mythology and epic Ramayana, Goddess Durga was actually worshipped in the spring and King Ramachandra worshipped her in autumn before he went to conquer demon king Ravana. It is believed that all Gods and Goddesses wake up from their rest on the day of Mahalaya to offer ardent prayers to the savior Goddess Durga. On this very day Devi commences her journey to earth from heaven. Another myth explained in Mahabharata tells that Mahalaya is the ending day for Pitru Paksha during which Karna ended his fortnight long charity for food and left for the heavenly abode. It is also widely reckoned that autumn reaches it full blossom on Mahalaya.
Rituals of Mahalaya
On the auspicious day of Mahalaya, Hindus invocate Devi Durga, the warrior goddess of supremacy, to descend on Earth with her four children. Sons and successors of deceased Hindu people wake up at dawn and offer homage and prayers for the peace of their late ancestors which is known as ‘Tarpan’. Tarpan is performed at the bank of sacred river Ganges. It is only after the rituals, people eat anything. Sweets, foods and clothes are offered for charity in the memory of the deceased.
Celebration of Mahalaya
Mahalaya rings the final bell of festivity at the doors of Hindus, especially Bengalis. But the celebration of Mahalaya is closely associated with a legendary Radio program broadcasted by All India Radio since 1930. Bengalis wake up early morning to listen to this annual broadcasting of ‘Mahishasura Mardini’, the tale of Goddess Durga who was created and empowered by the Gods to end the totalitarianism of Demon Mahishasura. The powerful recitation of Birendra Krishna Bhadra, the immaculate montage of ‘Chandi Kavya’ scripts, classical music and devotional songs still overwhelm Bengalis with its awe and charm.
Significance of Mahalaya
Mahalaya has great spiritual as well as religious significance in Hindu as well as Bengali culture. It indicates the time for subjugation of all evil spirits and surrender to the eternal divinity. To conclude, Mahalaya is the initiation of the festive elation all over.