Mahalaya 2022: History, significance, rituals, and more
Set your alarms at 4 am and tune into Mahishasur Mandini, because it's time to celebrate Maa Durga's arrival! Being celebrated this year on September 25, Mahalaya marks the end of Pitru Paksha and the beginning of Devi Paksha. Devotees celebrate this occasion a week before Durga Puja by listening to popular hymns and bracing themselves for the forthcoming festivities. Here's everything to know.
Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh created Goddess Durga on this day
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh created Goddess Durga on this day to defeat the demon king Mahishasura. The king was given a blessing that no God or human could ever kill him. Owing to this, he attacked devtas and forced them to flee Devlok. They prayed to Lord Vishnu to save them, resulting in the birth of Maa Durga.
Mahalaya is more about Maa Durga's homecoming
While Mahalaya marks the end of Pitru Paksha, it celebrates the beginning of Devi Paksha. It is far from being a sorrowful occasion as it is believed that the Goddess descents from her prenatal home in Mount Kailash, where she stays with her husband Lord Shiva. Her children Kartikeya, Ganesha, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, also accompany her during this journey to earth.
An auspicious puja is performed to honor Maa Durga
Devotees rise early in the morning to worship the Goddess by singing the Chandipath and listening to hymns like Mahishasura Mardini. Additionally, they also spend the day in remembrance of their departed forefathers by bidding farewell to their souls in the morning and performing a puja in the evening to seek the deity's blessings. Artisans complete painting the eyes of the Goddess today.
Age-old tradition of waking up to a radio program
Mahishasura Mardini is a special Bengali radio show that's aired at the crack of dawn since 1931. It is aired on All India Radio (AIR) and happens to be a 1.5-hour audio montage of recitation of Durga Saptashati. This program is aired every year on Mahalaya and people tune into the show at 4 am. Birendra Krishna Bhadra is the voice behind Mahishasura Mardini.