According to the North Indian conventional calendar, Sheetala Ashtami is celebrated in the months of Chaitra (March–April) praying to the Goddess Sheetla. The 8th day of a Krishna Paksha in the period of Chaitra and people in the Hindu culture celebrate it as the Sheetala Ashtami. The consensus is that practising this Vrata will aid in the healing of different ailments. Also known by the name Basoda, Sheetala Ashtami 2023 will occur early in March. Let us know more about the festival and how to celebrate it.
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Goddess Shetala is credited in the Skanda Purana for curing epidemics and sicknesses. People manifest to Sheetala Devi to assist her offspring during major epidemics and communicable illnesses that threaten living things on Earth. Hence, she has a pot of medical fluid in the other hand and a broom or neem twigs in the first, which represent her ability to purify the atmosphere.
Sheetla Saptami will be on March 14, 2023, Tuesday. Meanwhile, Sheetala Ashatami in 2023 will be on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. People can perform the Basoda puja at the following time and Shubh muhurat.
Sunrise: 15 Mar 2023 06:39 AM
Sunset: 15 Mar 2023 06:31 PM
Puja Muhurat on Sheetala Ashtami: 15 March 2023 from 06:31 AM to 06:29 PM
Sheetla Ashtami Tithi starts: March 14, 2023, 08:22 PM
Sheetla Ashtami Tithi ends: March 15, 2023, 06:45 PM
The tale regarding Sheetala Ashtami demonstrates the demon Jwarasura in it. He represents many plagues and infectious illnesses in the form of a human. When Jwarasura’s deeds intensify, people get ill and pass away. The disease that the devil had unleashed was untreatable by medication. So, they worshipped the High Priestess, Shakti.
She emerged as Sheetala Mata and guarded her followers. Also, she cleared the water and atmosphere of sickness and cleaned the surroundings. The devil was vanquished by her and changed into a donkey. He expressed regret for his behaviour. He became her go-to person. In many parts of India, folks pray to the deity Sheetla for her ability to cure various illnesses including chickenpox.
During Sheetala Ashtami, old food is offered as part of a special rite. The food required for Sheetala Ashtami puja is made the day before. On this day, people present the Sheetala Devi with a variety of foods. Moreover, people also give old folks food and ask for their graces.
Seven boys were born to a Brahmin family; yet, despite all of their long-ago marriages, nobody of them had offspring. After hearing the Brahmin speak one day, an elderly woman who was passing by from that area advised that the Brahmin follow the Sheetla Shashti fasting and described how to do so. After the daughters-in-fast, the law all of them got pregnant with sons within one year.
Once a Brahmin forgot to observe the fast; the next night, the Brahmin discovered the bodies of her boys. Out of terror, she awoke her spouse, but he had already passed away. When the neighbours arrived, they told them all of this was the result of Sheetla Devi’s anger because everybody was in horrible shape and sobbing while hearing the commotion. The Brahmin, who was feeling depressed, headed towards the woods, where she saw an elderly woman and recounted the entire story when she inquired. In truth, she was Sheetla Devi.
She requested the Brahmin to put curd on his skin, which lessened the burning. The Brahmin quickly realised what had happened, and he quickly apologised and pleaded for the family’s survival before falling at her feet. A marvel occurred and all seven of his sons, along with his husband and daughter-in-law were all miraculously raised from the dead when she requested that curd be applied to their bodies.
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People make a Bhog for Sheetla Mata including cold and stale meals on this specific day and refer it to as Basoda. During Ashtami, this is carried out. On this day, worshippers of Devi Sheetla fast as well. The tale of Sheetla Mata is also read aloud. After that, people read the Sheetlashtak to rever her. The beauty of Sheetla Mata is described by Sheetlashtak. People sing her chants as well.
The word Basoda refers to ‘stale’. It is a tradition that people do not light a fire in the kitchen on the day of Basoda. Folks prepare food a day before this festival and on the day of Basoda, people eat only stale food. Some families or communities also prepare some special food to celebrate Basoda. People also prepare some special traditional sweets like Gulgule or Meethi Cheela.
In most parts of the country, folks celebrate Basoda on the Sheetala Ashtami. On this day devotees worship Sheetla Mata and pray for good health, and protection from epidemic diseases. According to beliefs, she is the goddess of smallpox and by worshiping her on this day, devotees can prevent themselves from such afflictions.
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