Stale Food Items are Offered to Goddess Sheetla. Find out the reason behind this strange tradition.
Sheetla Saptami is the only fast where stale food items are offered. Approximately, seven to eight days after the festival of colors, Holi ends and it is when reverence is paid to Sheetla Mata. Apart from this, some communities commemorate this festival during the Monday which arrives after Holi.
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Beliefs state that one can get rid of diseases and ailments like smallpox, boils, pimples, fever etc. by observing this fast. Goddess Sheetla is offered stagnant food and when she is appeased, she protects her devotees by keeping them safe from all kinds of miseries.
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When will Sheetla Saptami be Observed this Year?
This year, Sheetla Saptami will be celebrated on Sunday, 15 March 2020. There is a tradition of worshipping sheetla Mata who incarnates in the form of a white stone. This festival is celebrated exclusively in the Northern part of India. There are specific tasks carried out on this day so as to appease the Goddess. Some of them are mentioned below:-
- One should wake up early in the morning and take a clean bath.
- Next, an oath is taken to observe the fast by duly observing all the rites and rituals and worshipping Goddess Sheetla.
- While taking a bath and commemorating the Puja rituals one should chant, ‘हृं श्रीं शीतलायै नमः’ / ‘hṛṃ śrīṃ śītalāyai namaḥ’
- The most interesting thing about this day is the fact that left over or stale food items are offered to the Goddess.
- Afterwards, one should listen to the Vrat katha of Sheetla Saptami fast.
- Apart from this, if it is possible at all, Jagran should also be conducted during the night as it ensures the inflow of positive and auspicious results.
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Sheetla Saptami : Offerings Made of Rice to the Goddess
On the day of Sheetla Saptami specifically, sweetened rice is offered to the Goddess. Jaggery and sugar cane juice are mixed with rice grains and this special item is prepared. This type of food item is prepared a night before Sheetala Ashtami and distributed among the members of the household once they are done with the rituals. Apart from this, there is also another speciality and tradition associated with this day. During the morning hours of Sheetla Saptami, no food item is prepared in one’s household. Those who observe this fast only consume sweetened rice made previously all throughout the day.
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Sheetla Saptami : Importance
There is a significance associated with each and every kind of festival of fast which are considered to be a part of the Hindu religion and culture. On the same note, it is believed that the fast of Sheetla Saptami is observed so as to keep one’s child’s health in good spirits. Apart from this, this particular fast also has the ability to negate many kinds of diseases like fever, eye related disorders, ailments occurring during winters and many others.
Sheetla Saptami Vrat Katha
According to the Vrat Katha of Sheetla Saptami, there used to be an old lady. Once, her two daughter in laws had observed the fast of Sheetla Saptami. It is said about this day that only leftover food items are served and made during this occasion but unfortunately the two daughter-in-law’s of the concerned lady prepared fresh food items. The reality was that both of them had conceived recently and for the utmost protection of their respective babies, they decided to cook fresh food items so that they do not fall prey to any kind of illness. When the mother in law got to know about this act she was infuriated. Shortly after consuming the meal, both of their babies expired. When the mother in law got to know about this tragedy, she expelled them from her house.
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They took the bodies of their respective children and stepped out of the house. When they were wandering to various places, they crossed paths with two sisters named Auri and Sheetla. Both of them were troubled due to the infestation of lice in their respective heads. When the two daughter in laws got to know about their problem, they solved it immediately. Finally, they breathed a sigh of relief and blessed the two daughter in laws.
Upon hearing using this, the two daughter-in-laws started to cry and narrated the tragic incident that both of the children had met with. The sisters replied that you are being punished for your sins. It is only because of your act of cooking fresh food items during Sheetla Saptami that your children have stopped breathing.
Both of them realised their mistake and seeked redemption from Goddess Sheetla and they vowed not to commit such a sin in the upcoming time. This is when Goddess Sheetla resurrected the dead kids. Ever since then the tradition of celebrating Sheetla Saptami with much pomp and show came into existence.
So, this was all you need to know about Sheetla Saptami. Thankyou for Connecting with us!