Mahalaya | Date | Significance

What is Mahalaya and why is it celebrated in India?

By Intimate Viewpoint

Mahalaya Day is observed on the 7th day before Durga Puja or one day before Navratri or Kalash Sthapna Divas. The day of Mahalaya falls on the last day of the Pitru paksha, the day of paying homage to the ancestors and forefathers. The day is also considered auspicious for doing Shraddh or death rites. It marks the end of the 15th-day-long Shradh ritual.

(Mahalaya) goddess Durga image


This year it falls on the 14th of October, Saturday (2023).

What is special about Mahalaya 

Although it is special for all the Hindu people, the day is observed with great pomp in West Bengal. An official holiday is declared across the state.

People wear new clothes and visit Durga Mandirs with their families but before that, one more special job is done by most people. They wake up at 4:00 a.m. and listen to "Durga Stotram" and "Mahalaya"(a program dedicated to the goddess Durga) on the radio and watch on television. Thus the Mahalaya day is observed. 

The Significance

The word "Mahalaya" consists of two Sanskrit words "Maha" and "Alaya". Maha means great, and Alay means Ghar or house. The term Mahalaya does not mean a big house but it is believed that goddess Durga comes to the Earth from her Adobe "her husband's house" on this day. That's why, this day is observed with great Joy exactly the same way as the parents celebrate when daughters come to their parents' home.

This day is also special for those people who forget the death anniversary of their ancestors and forefathers. They offer food, water, and prayer to them on this specific day. This ritual is widely known as "Tarpan".

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