Hey everyone, your best friend Sara here…Holi, Onam, Eid, Durga Pooja, Christmas…the festivals are endless and pep us up, even in the dullest of times!
Happy Mahalaya, everyone! I cant get enough of the excitement around this festival, especially from my lovely friends from West Bengal.
10 year old Shantanu Kothari from Kolkata sharing with us his experience of walking by the Ganga as people immersed themselves into the festivities. Shantanu is a student of South City International School, Kolkata.
A walk by the Ganges in Kolkata is our favourite thing to do on weekend.
Last year, around this time, while approaching the walkway very early in the morning, I was surprised to see thousands of people taking a dip in the Holy Ganga and chanting some mantra.
While I was feeling lost in the crowd, my mom was happy capturing photos on her phone. It was a chaotic scene. I asked my mother what was going on and she explained to me,“It is Mahalaya, the day when there is no moon at night and when Goddess Durga descends on earth with her family.”
This day is very sacred, especially for Bengalis as it marks the beginning of Durga Puja. Also on Mahalaya, they wake up really early to offer prayers and homage to their ancestors and departed souls of dear ones. They do puja and tarpan in near by water body.
That explained this huge gathering of people on the ghat I have never seen before. After this ritual in the Ganges, they feed pandits and the needy.
I learned that Mahalaya happens in the Ashwin month of Hindu calendar on Amavashya (no moon night) which is the 15th day of the month. Mom also mentioned about mantra chanting that plays on the radio at 4am on Mahalaya, celebrating the arrival of the goddess.
Normally, Durga Puja starts after Mahalaya but this year there is an extra month (Adhik Maas) in hindu calendar and so Durga Puja will be held 30 days after Mahalaya.