Maa Durga has many forms and Sheetala Mata is one of them. Maa Sheetala helps her devotees in getting rid of diseases and blesses them with calmness and prosperity. The way Maa Kali killed the demons, similarly, Maa Sheetala destroys all the effects of diseases and makes a person lead a healthy life.
It is believed that one attains the grace of Maa Sheetala by worshipping and observing her fast. Although Sheetala Ashtami is celebrated on different dates of Krishna Paksha and Shukla Paksha in different parts of the country, the significance of this fast is one. This year, it is going to be celebrated on April 04, 2021, i.e. Sunday.
Sheetala Ashtami: Puja Muhurat
April 04, 2021
Auspicious Timings: 06:08 AM to 06:41 PM
Duration: 12 Hours 33 Minutes
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Sheetala Mata is considered to be an incarnation of calmness and prosperity. It is said that one who observes the fast of Sheetala Mata with due rituals on Sheetala Ashtami, then he/she gets rid of diseases and ailments like smallpox, boils, pimples, fever, etc.
Why are Stale Food Items Offered to Mata Sheetala?
As per the belief of Hinduism, the stove is not burnt in the house on the day of worship of Sheetala Mata and all the food items are prepared a night before Sheetala Ashtami. On the following day i.e. the day of Ashtami, women offer stale food as Bhog to Maa Sheetala all the members of the house also eat the same food. As per Hindu beliefs, eating fresh food and bathing with hot water is not allowed to take place.
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The Appearance of Maa Sheetala
Mata Sheetala, the incarnation of Maa Durga and Maa Parvati, is highly attractive. As per prevailing beliefs, Maa Sheetala rides a donkey, and she holds a broom in one hand and a Kalash filled with cold water in another hand. Mata Sheetala is wearing a garland made up of Neem leaves and has special grace on her face. This incarnation makes a person get free from all kinds of suffering and pains.
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Rituals to be Performed on Sheetala Ashtami
- Wake up in the morning and mix some drops of Gangajal in ordinary water and take a bath.
- Now, wear clean clothes of orange colour and decorate two plates for worship.
- Then, put curd, millet, chapaties, sweet rice prepared on Saptami, Namak Pare, Mathri, etc. in one plate.
- Place a lamp/Diya made up of flour, Roli, a piece of cloth, Akshat, coin, Mehendi, etc. on the second plate. Also, keep a small round metal pot filled with cold water.
- Place the Diya/lamp without lighting it before the idol of Sheetala Mata and offer the items of the plate as Bhog.
- After this, offer water to the Neem plant and visit Sheetala Mata temple in the afternoon, and worship again. Offer water to the Maa and apply the Tilak of Haldi.
- Further, apply Mehendi to the Maa, and offer new clothes and stale food. Then, perform Aarti by lighting camphor.
- If possible, visit the site where Holika Dahan is performed and perform worship.
- Lastly, perform donations to Brahmins and serve items of food to a cow.
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