Sheetala Ashtami- Significance and Observance
What is Sheetala Ashtami?
Sheetala Ashtami is celebrated in the honor of Goddess Sheetala. On this particular day, people also perform the Basoda Puja which is a well-known festival of Hindus. As per the scriptures and Hindu mythology, by worshipping Goddess Sheetala, devotees (particularly children) can be protected from various epidemic diseases.
When is Sheetala Ashtami?
As per the Hindu calendar, Sheetala Ashtami takes place in the month of Chaitra during Krishna Paksha on the day of Ashtami (eighth day). As per the Gregorian calendar, the day falls in the month of April or March. The celebrations of Sheetala Ashtami usually takes place after eight days of the joyous Holi festival.
What Is The Significance Of Sheetala Ashtami?
In Hindu mythology, there is a vital significance of Sheetala Mata as it is believed that she is the Goddess and controller of various diseases including smallpox, measles, and chicken pox. In the portrait form, the Goddess is riding a donkey as it the vehicle of the deity. She holds a broomstick, a Kalash (pot) of holy water, some neem leaves and a dustpan with her four hands. As per the beliefs, it is believed that Goddess Sheetala sweeps off all the germs and then make use of the dustpan to collect them. The primary significance of Sheetala Ashtami is that the deity cures the diseases and brings in health and peace in the lives of the devotees.
What Are The Rituals Of Sheetala Ashtami?
- According to the Hindu beliefs, people do not light the fire or cook anything on this day. Rather, they cook the meals a day prior for the purpose of consuming it on the day of Sheetala Ashtami.
- People wake up early morning and take a cold-water bath before sunrise. After taking the bath, devotees need to visit the temple of the deity and perform the various rituals.
- Various offerings are made to the Goddess such as curd, Rabri, Gur, and several other essentials.
- After this, the devotees take divine blessings from elderly people.
- The food left after offering the Bhog to the Goddess is consumed by the devotees for the entire day as the sacred food (Prasad). In various regional areas, it is popularly called as ‘Basoda’.
- For attaining good blessings, the food is also donated to the poor and needy people.
- Devotees also observe a fast on this day to get blessed with good health and to get rid of any negative energies.
- Devotees read ‘Sheetalashtak’ on the day of Sheetala Ashtami to get bestowed with the divine blessings of the deity.
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