Shubho Mahalaya: PM Modi Extends His Greetings

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his greetings to the nation on the occasion of Mahalaya.

Mahalaya marks the beginning of Devi Paksha and the end of the Pitri Paksha, the latter of which, is a period of mourning.

Hindus consider Pitri Paksha to be inauspicious, because shradhh or death rites are performed during this period. It is a 16-day lunar period during which people remember and pay homage to their ancestors using food and water offerings.

While there are many stories and/or folklore associated with the day, largely, people believe that on this day, Goddess Durga officially begins her journey from Mount Kailash — where she resides with her husband Lord Shiva — to her maternal home on Earth. Bengalis celebrate it with much fervour and remark intermittently, about the festive autumn weather and the ‘pujo-pujo‘ feel.

It is believed Goddess Durga undertakes this week-long journey with her children — Ganesha, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati — on a vehicle of her choice. It could be a palanquin or a boat, an elephant or a horse.

Mahalaya is celebrated roughly seven days before Durga Puja. Every Bengali household wakes up early in the morning — even before the sun — to customarily listen to a collection of songs and mantras called ‘Mahishasura Mardini’, in the sonorous voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra. These mantras invoke the Goddess; the most famous one being Jago Tumi Jago (meaning, ‘awaken, oh Goddess!’)

The Prime Minister greeted his fellow countrymen on the auspicious occasion and sought Goddess Durga’s blessings for the “well-being of our planet and the welfare of our citizens.” May everyone be happy as well as healthy in the times to come, Modi wished.

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