Bangladesh celebrates Mahalaya festivities amid pandemic18 September 2020 bdnews24.com
The Mahalaya, a ritual that marks the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities, has begun across the country amid the coronavirus crisis.
Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das inaugurated the ceremony by lighting a lamp at the Dhakeswari National Temple on Thursday.
According to Hindu scripture, Mahalaya, Bodhon and Sandhi Puja are the three chapters of Durga Puja.
Mahalaya is an invitation to the mother goddess to her parental home. This is done through the chanting of psalms and singing of devotional songs.
The ceremony marks the beginning of Devi-Paksha and the end of Pitri-Paksha. The devotees pray and offer food for the salvation of their ancestors' soul during a portion of the Pitri-Paksha, which is called 'Tarpan'.
"The goddess is first invited through recitation from the scriptural verses of Chandi Kavya," said Ratan Chakraborti, the chief priest at Dhakeshwari Temple.
The key Durga Puja celebrations will begin on Oct 23 this year. It is scheduled to end on Oct 26.
That means the Durga Puja will be held 35 days, instead of the usual seven days, after Mahalaya. According to Hindu schools of almanacs, the unusual gap between Mahalaya and Durga Puja is because of a phenomenon called 'mala mash' when no auspicious festivals or rituals can be observed.
Bangladesh will put in place health and safety measures to observe the festival this year due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.