Today is Mahalaya

Mahalaya is celebrated on the last day of ‘Krishnapaksha’, the dark fortnight of Ashwin month. The next day marks the beginning of Sharad, heralding the 10-day Durga Puja festival.


The end of Pitru Paksha is the day when Mahalaya is celebrated and this year (2022), Mahalaya falls on September 25.

On Mahalaya, every Bengali household wakes up early in the morning – before the sun rises. The occasion is associated with different practices and rituals. Many people perform ‘tarpan’ on this day to offer prayers to the departed souls of their ancestors and give ‘bhog’ to the Brahmins, along with food and materials to the needy. Some Hindu households offer the ritual of pitru tarpan during this day wherein they offer prayers and offerings (pind daan) on the banks of the river Ganga for the departed ancestors.

Mythology says that Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara created Goddess Durga to defeat demon king Mahishasura. The demon king had gotten a boon that he cannot be exterminated by anyone, including gods and goddesses. The creators of Goddess Durga had given her several weapons to fight against the demon king. Basically, Mahalaya connotes the arrival of Goddess Durga to Earth. Goddess Durga is believed to be the Goddess of ultimate power.

People even prefer listening to the Mahishasuramardini composition on the radio. Also, there is a special ritual associated with the painting of the eyes of the goddess. On Mahalaya, artisans carry out their final touch of drawing the eyes of Ma Durga.