As per the Hindu Lunar calendar, the last day of Pitru Paksha or Pitripaksha, the fortnight of the forefathers, in the month of Ashwina is known as Mahalaya. Pitripaksha is a 16-day long period during which individuals pay homage to their ancestors. Mahalaya is observed on Amavasya, which is the last day of Krishnapaksha. Hindu devotees also believe that on this day, every year Goddess Durga arrives on Earth, which is regarded as her paternal home. In West Bengal, Mahalaya marks the beginning of the 10-day annual Durga Puja festival.
Read: When and Where Can You Listen to Mahalaya Programme on October 6?
There will be a bank holiday on October 6 in states, including West Bengal, Karnataka, Odisha, and Tripura.
Date of Mahalaya 2021
This year Mahalaya is being observed on October 6, 2021.
Timings of Mahalaya 2021
The Amavasya Tithi will begin on October 5, 2021 at 07:04 PM and it will end at 04:34 PM on October 6, 2021.
Rituals of Mahalaya 2021
On the last day of Pitripaksha, family member/s of the deceased perform tarpan, a ritual in which an offering is made to the ancestors. Tarpan is performed only after taking a holy dip in the Gange or any other river body.
Mahalaya holds a special significance for the residents of West Bengal. On this day, people wake up before dawn and make all the preparations to welcome Goddess Durga in their homes.
One of the Durga Puja rituals followed among Bengalis for 90 years now, on the day of Mahalaya is listening to the Mahishasuramardini composition.
Significance of Mahalaya 2021
Apart from paying homage to ancestors, the day is also observed to remember the power of truth and courage, and the triumph of good over evil. As per Indian mythology, Goddess Durga was created by the powers of all supreme godheads of the universe to slay Mahishasura, a demon who is said to have wreaked havoc on Earth.