Shubho Mahalaya! Waking up in the pre-dawn hours and listening to the tune of Birendra Krishna Bhadra's timeless voice reciting the holy verses of 'Mahisasura Mardini' marks the beginning of the much-awaited festival - Durga Pujo - for Bengalis.
This day marks the end of Shradh or Pitru Paksha and heralds the beginning of Devi Paksha with people remembering the departed souls by offering 'tarpan.'
With Mahalaya begins the countdown of Durga Puja. Mahalaya is usually observed a week or six days prior to Durga Puja celebrations.
However, this year it seems that Bengalis will have to wait for a month before welcoming Goddess Durga on 'Mahashashthi'.
All you need to know about 'mala mash'
The gap of 35 days between 'Mahalaya' and 'Mashashthi' is known as 'mala mash' or an 'unholy month', which has two new moons or 'Amavasyas.' So, the month - 'mala mash' - is a month when as per scriptures, the auspicious rituals are generally avoided.
Durga Puja, which normally happens in the month of 'Ashwin', will now take place in the month of 'Kartik'. Due to two new moons, Ashwin is a 'mala mash'.
According to the Hindu calendar, the first day of 'Ashwin' is falling on September 17, which is a new moon and the second one will be on October 16 which is the 29th day of 'Ashwin'.
Remember the last time when something like this happened? Such an unusual phenomenon happened back in 2001 and before that it took place in 1982.
Let's now check the important dates and days of Durga Puja this year:
- Panchami is on October 21
- Shashthi is on October 22
- Saptami is on October 23
- Ashtami is on October 24
- Navami is on October 25
- Vijaya Dashami is on October 26