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Sheetala Ashtami 2023: Date, Time, Rituals, Mythological Story, and More

DateFebruary 22, 2023

Sheetala Ashtami occurs in the month of Chaitra (March–April). On this day, Hindus worship Goddess Sheetala. It is the 8th day of Krishna Paksha in Chaitra month. The belief is that observing a fast on this day helps to cure ailments. It is also called Basoda.

Here are the details of the festival and how to celebrate it.

The Skanda Purana says that Goddess Sheetala can cure epidemics and diseases. She is depicted with a pot of medical fluid in one hand and a broom or neem twigs in the other. They symbolize her power to purify the atmosphere.

Sheetala Ashtami

Sheetala Ashtami 2023: Date, Time & Pooja Muhurat

Sheetala Saptami is on March 14, 2023, Tuesday, and Sheetala Ashatami 2023 is on Wednesday, March 15. Basoda Pooja can be performed at the following time and Shubha muhurat.

Sunrise: 15 Mar 2023 06:39 am
Sunset: 15 Mar 2023 06:31 pm
Pooja Muhurat on Sheetala Ashtami: 15 March 2023 from 06:31 am to 06:29 pm
Sheetala Ashtami Tithi starts: March 14, 2023, 08:22 pm
Sheetala Ashtami Tithi ends: March 15, 2023, 06:45 pm

Importance of Sheetala Ashtami

Once, there was a demon called Jwarasura who represented plagues and epidemics. Due to his deeds, people would fall ill and die. The diseases that he caused had no treatment, so people began to worship Goddess Shakti for relief.

Shakti manifested as Sheetala and protected her devotees. Also, she made the water and atmosphere free of sickness and cleansed the surroundings. She also defeated the demon and turned him into a donkey. He apologized for his behavior and became her assistant. Sheetala is believed to cure many illnesses, including smallpox and chickenpox. She is regarded as an incarnation of Goddess Durga.

During Sheetala Ashtami, people offer stale food as part of a special rite. The food needed for Sheetala Ashtami Pooja is made the previous day. On this day, people offer different kinds of food to the Goddess. They also offer food to old people and get their blessings.

The Legend behind Sheetala Ashtami Vrat

Once, 7 boys were born to a Brahmin family. They grew up and got married but none had any offspring. After hearing the Brahmin family’s woes, an elderly woman who lived in the same area advised the Brahmin family to observe a fast on Sheetala Shashti. She also described the fasting procedure. So, the wives of the Brahmins observed the fast as she instructed, and all of them conceived shortly thereafter.

Once, a Brahmin lady forgot to keep the vrat. On the following night, she discovered that her boys had died. Terrified, she woke up her spouse, but he, too, had passed away. On hearing this, the neighbours said that the tragedy was the result of Sheetala Devi’s wrath. The dejected Brahmin lady made her way to the woods, where she saw an old woman to whom she narrated the entire story. Actually, the old lady was Sheetala Devi.

She told the Brahmin lady to put curd on her skin, which decreased the burning sensation. The lady realized who the old woman was, and she apologized to her and begged her to restore the lives of her family members. Miraculously, all her 7 sons, along with her husband and daughter-in-law, came back to life when curd was applied to their bodies.

Food for Sheetala Ashtami

  • The evening before Ashtami, make Bhog for Goddess Sheetala. Make the preparations for the Pooja.
  • Use pure oil to make the food.
  • Make roti, halwa, kheer, potatoes, and puris.
  • Black gram, soaked overnight, can also be served.
  • Offer Bhog to the Goddess at her shrine on Ashtami day. Offer it along with a sweet, made using milk or milk products.
  • Offer butter and curd on sweetened roti.
  • Offer raw lassi, too, in the Bhog.
  • Young girls should avoid hot foods.

How to perform Sheetala Ashtami Pooja?

  • Do not light fires on Sheetala Ashtami for cooking. So prepare the food the day before.
  • Observe the tradition of offering old food to Sheetala.
  • Before the Pooja, take a bath before sunrise.
  • Visit the Goddess’ shrine and offer Haldi and Bajra to the deity.
  • Listen to the Basoda Vrat Katha after performing the Pooja.
  • Later, offer curd, rabdi, etc., to Sheetala.
  • Get blessings from your elders. Make the food for the Goddess and eat the remaining food.
  • The “Basi Khana” is the prasad, which can be served to family members.
  • Provide the same food to the needy and other devotees.
  • Read “Sheetalashtak” to get favorable results.

Sheetala Ashtami Celebrations

In many parts of India, people celebrate Basoda on Sheetala Ashtami by worshipping Goddess Sheetala. She is the Goddess of smallpox, and devotees believe that she will protect them from such afflictions.

  • Rajasthan: People organize special fairs and enjoy the festival. Malpua, Ker Sangri, Roti, Puri, and Gulgule are the staple foods of Basoda.
  • Madhya Pradesh: Here, people organize a grand fair that attracts many tourists and devotees.
  • Gujarat: People worship Sheetala Devi and make special foods to celebrate the Basoda festival.

Benefits of Basoda Pooja

  • It can cure smallpox, fever, sores, seasonal illness, etc.
  • It protects one from heat, accidents, and skin diseases.
  • It removes misery and obstacles.

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