Today is Subho Mahalaya. Mahalaya basically marks the beginning of Debi Paksha and the end of Pitri Paksha or the Shradh

With that, it’s also that time of the year when Goddess Durga visits her maternal home.

It is believed that today Goddess Durga begins her journey with her children (Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartik, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati) from Mount Kailash to her home on Earth after Mahalaya.

And, this of course is an auspicious day for Bengalis who enthusiastically celebrate Durga Maa’s return. Yes, today is that day of the year when the entirety of a community wakes up during the early hours of the morning to celebrate the homecoming of the Goddess of supreme power, Maa Durga

The sound of the conch shell and echoes of Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s timeless chants fills the air in every household. 

Also, delicious food items like rice, dal, vegetables and kheer are prepared to offer to the gods. Things are a little different this year, owing to the pandemic but, by now people would have completed their last round of puja shopping.

For the uninitiated, Mahalaya is celebrated seven days before the onset of Durga Puja and anyone who has grown up in West Bengal will remember the legendary broadcast of ‘Mahishasur Mardini’ or ‘The Annihilation of the Demon’ on the radio. 

The storyline of ‘Mahishasur Mardini’ follows the increasing cruelty of the demon king Mahisasura against the gods, who in their efforts to annihilate the demon create the supreme Goddess – an all powerful female form with ten arms, the Mother of the Universe.

Mahalaya is also the celebration of good over evil. And, it goes without saying, the emotional turbulence associated with Durga Puja and the tradition of Mahalaya holds a special place in each and every Bengalis heart. And, it’s incredibly reassuring and magical.

As Bengalis chant prayers during the morning hours, the sudden realisation of Durga Puja being more than just a celebration of religion and a mere worship of a deity, hits home. Because Durga Puja is much more than that, it’s a celebration of life, culture and hope.

People on social media also celebrated Mahalaya 2020. 

So, while we wait for Durga puja festivities to begin, here’s wishing you a Happy Mahalaya