Mahalaya, an auspicious occasion that heralds the advent of Goddess Durga, will be celebrated at dawn on Saturday through different rituals by Hindu community members across the country.
With the beginning of Devipaksha, Mahalaya is observed six days before Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Bangalee Hindu community. Usually, the Devipaksha commences with Mahalaya Amavasya.
According to Hindu mythology, Mahalaya marks the last day of Krishnapaksha, which is a dark fortnight of the month of Ashwin.
In the Indian state of West Bengal, Mahalaya is depicted in a show-tell manner, with songs, enactments and dances on regional television channels. The television show is also viewed by a lot of people especially children in Bangladesh at the dawn of the day of Mahalaya.
The most popular rendition of it, however, has been in the sonorous recorded voice of the legendary narrator and radio broadcaster Birendra Krishna Bhadra, whose rendition of mantras from the holy book Sri Sri Chandi along with songs performed by others called Mahishasura Mardini are played customarily at the dawn of Mahalaya day in every Bengali household mostly in West Bengal as well as in Bangladesh.
Marking the day, special programs of Mahalaya will be arranged at different temples across the country, including the capital, on Saturday at dawn.
Hindus will remember and pay homage to their ancestors, who passed away, by performing puja and offering the Brahmins clothes, food and sweets in their name.
Mahanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee will hold a special program marking the Mahalaya at Dhakeshwari National Temple at 6am.
Different programs will also be arranged at Ramna Kali Mandir at dawn as Mangol Pradip (sacred earthen lamp) will be lit up at 6.05am to commence the one-and-a-half-hour-long program. Awami League organizing secretary Sujit Roy Nandi will attend it.
Ramna Kali Mandir Managing Committee President Utpal Saha said they will portray local culture and works of mystic poets like Radaraman Dutta and Lalon Shah.
Gulshan-Banani Sarbajanin Puja Foundation will hold a program to welcome Goddess Durga at 5.30am at Banani playground.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud will attend the event as the chief guest.
Similar programs will be arranged in different temples in the capital city and across the country.
Although Durga Puja will formally begin on October 20 on the day of Maha Shasti, the advent of Goddess Durga will be heralded on Saturday.
The nine-day festival- Navratri dedicated to Goddess Durga in the month of Ashwin usually commences soon after the end of Pitru Paksha.
Mahalaya marks an invitation of sorts to goddess Durga to begin her journey from Kailash to her paternal home (earth), along with her children.
This invitation is extended through the chanting of mantras from Sri Sri Chandi and the singing of devotional songs.
The countdown of Durga Puja begins with the celebration of Mahalaya.
On October 20, the Durga Puja will begin with various rituals on the day of Maha Shashthi while it will come to an end with the immersion of idols on the day of Bijoya Dashami.