2020 has been an unusual ever year since its beginning with full of shocks and surprises. One more off the wall thing about this year is the long gap between Mahalaya and the much awaited festival of Durga Puja.
Mahalaya marks the end of the ‘Pitru Paksh’ and the beginning of ‘Devi Paksh’. The transition day from the former to the latter is known as Mahalaya which is on 17th September this year. It is believed that, on the day of Mahalaya, Maa Durga embarks on her journey to earth.
Usually, the festival of Durga Puja begins about 6 days after Mahalaya with Mahashasthi. However, this year Mahashashthi will fall on 22nd October i.e. after a long and unusual gap of 35 days.
The celebrations has been deferred to avoid the unholy month known as the ‘Mala Mash’. This period is considered unholy as it has occurrence of two new moons in a single lunar month. The abberation has been agreed upon by both the schools of almanacs- Bisuddha Siddhanta and Suryasiddhanta as reported by Firstpost.
As per Hindu beliefs, no auspicious rituals or rites including pujas, marriages etc should take place during this period.
Reportedly, the world will be witnessing this phenomenon for the second time in the 21st century. A similar phenomenon occurred in 2001 when Durga Puja was celebrated 30 days after Mahalaya. Before that, it happened in the year 1982.
Durga Puja is celebrated with great pomp and gay in Assam and Tripura in the Northeastern region. However, this year the celebrations of the Puja will be a low key affair due to Covid-19. Assam government has also issued SOPs to be followed during festival.