New Delhi [India], October 6 (ANI): The occasion of Mahalaya holds special significance for Bengal and Bengalis. For many years, in most Bengali homes, a ritual is performed on this day to welcome the mother Goddess by listening to the Mahishasurmardini composition on the radio.
Mahalaya is celebrated at the end of Shradh or Pitru Paksha, a 16-day period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors.
Somnath Benerjee, a member of the Kalibari Association in Noida said that Mahalaya holds special relevance in today's world also as it is said to be the end of the patriarchy.
"On this day, we pay homage to our ancestors and welcome the arrival of mother on this earth. Just as a daughter comes to her maternal home, she is respected, in the same way, the Bengali society respects the mother with great pomp. Amavasya of Ashwin month is the last day of farewell of ancestors, so Mahalaya is also celebrated today," said Tapas Bagchi, a priest.
The occasion is associated with different practices and rituals. Many people perform 'tarpan' on this day to offer prayers to the departed souls of their ancestors and give 'bhog' to the Brahmins, along with food and materials to the needy.
After Mahalaya, Bengalis across the country start the celebration of Durga Puja with full fanfare. Pratipada Shardiya Navratri will be celebrated on the very next day. It is believed that on this day, Maa Durga comes to her maternal home with her children from Mount Kailash and stays for 10 days. Durga Puja begins on the seventh day of Mahalaya and ends on the day of Dashami.
According to Hindu mythology, when everyone failed to fight a demon named Mahishasura, all the gods and goddesses created Maa Durga for his destruction. Goddess Durga attacked Mahishasura and fought for nine days and killed her on the tenth day. On this occasion, ten days festival Durga Puja is celebrated and the tenth day is known as Vijayadashami symbolising the victory of good over evil. (ANI)