Sheetala Ashtami (Photo Credit: Instagram)
Sheetala Ashtami puja muharat that falls on the eight day after Holi ends today. The festival is celebrated with much fervor in North and West Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Gujarat however observed Shettala Ashtami a day before Krishna Janmasthami during the monsoon that falls in between June and July.
Folklore has it that the Sheetala mata is worshipped during spring for good health and keep the devotees away from diseases that come with the break of the season. Stale food is offered to the goddess who resides on a donkey and is armed with a ‘kalash’ (brass pot) and the Prasad is later distributed among devotees. Legends say that 33 crore Gods and Goddesses reside in the ‘kalash’ which Goddess Sheetala carries.
Sheetala Ashtami will end today, March 17. People wake up early to do puja, and offer sweets to Sheetala mata. The over fire is not used on this day as people mostly consume stale food. It is believed Sheetala mata can cure diseases like chickenpox, measles, flue etc.