Every year Mahalaya is observed seven days before the Durga Puja on the Amavasi day in the Hindu month of Ashwin or Ashwayuja (September-October) and heralds the advent of Maa Durga, the goddess of supreme power. The countdown for the Durga Puja begins much earlier, from the day of ‘Janmastami’. It is only from the day of Mahalaya that the preparations for the Durga Puja reaches the final stage. The midnight chants of various hymns of ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ reminds one of the beginning of Durga Puja.
The day of Mahalaya is also the day of remembrance. On this day, people offer ‘tarpan’ in memory of their deceased forefathers. The banks of River Ganga becomes a sea of humanity. Priests are seen busy performing ‘Tarpan’ for devotees in groups. The rituals start from early down and end during the midday. Devotees and worshipers buy clothes and sweets to offer to their forefathers. ‘Tarpan’ is to be performed in empty stomach. After offering ‘tarpan’, people eat at the same place.
Mahalaya 2013 Date: Mahalaya is on October 4, 2013 on Friday.