On Tuesday, Bengalis around the world ushered in the festive season with Mahalaya. Believed to be the day on which Goddess Durga descends to earth, it also ushers in the last round of preparations for the grand festival. It is believed that mantras called 'Mahisasura Mardini' invoke the Goddess and idols of Goddess Durga are transported to various pandals from this day onward.
Mahalaya also marks an end to the month of Pitru Paksha, which is observed by Hindus by remembering their ancestors. The families offer food, money, and other gifts to their 'Pitras' (ancestors) as a sign of reverence. While COVID-19 promises to play spoilsport yet again this year, many have taken digital routes to mark the occasion.
"Shubho Mahalaya! We bow to Maa Durga and seek her blessings for the well-being of our planet and the welfare of our citizens. May everyone be happy as well as healthy in the times to come," tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The auspicious occasion of Mahalaya marks the beginning of the much-awaited festive season. The countdown has begun! I extend my heartiest greetings and best wishes to all. Shubho Mahalaya!" tweeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"Greetings to all on the auspicious occasion of Mahalaya. May Maa Durga bless everyone with abundance of joy and good health. Shubho Mahalaya!" tweeted Home Minister Amit Shah.
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