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Sheetala Ashtami 2024: Date, rituals, significance, shubh muhurat and all you want to know

Sheetala Ashtami or Sheetalasthami is a Hindu festival in honour of the goddess Shitala, also known as Sheetala. It is celebrated on the eighth day of the waning moon, or Krishna Paksha, in the Hindu month of Chaitra, eight days after Holi. The festival heralds the arrival of summer and Shitala is worshipped as a protector against heat-related diseases such as smallpox and as a bringer of wealth. Offerings to the goddess and eating only food prepared a day or two before are part of the day’s observances. The term “previous night” (Basora or Basoda) is therefore used in certain regions of India to refer to Sheetala Ashtami. Traditional dishes served and consumed include khichiya, panchkuta, khadi and sweetened rice. Scroll down to know more about this auspicious occasion. (Also read: April 2024 festivals full list: Navratri to Baisakhi, all you want to know about upcoming Hindu festivals )

Goddess Shitala is honoured on Sheetala Ashtami for protection against diseases and wealth blessings.(Pinterest)

Sheetala Ashtami 2024 date and timing

This year the significant Hindu occasion of Sheetala Ashtami will be observed on Tuesday, April 2. According to Drik Panchang, the auspicious timings and shubh muhurat to observe the festival are as follows:

Hindustan Times – your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

Sheetala Ashtami Puja Muhurat – 06:10 to 18:40

Duration – 12 Hours 30 Mins

Ashtami Tithi Begins – 21:09 on April 01, 2024

Ashtami Tithi Ends – 20:08 on April 02, 2024

Sheetala Ashtami rituals

On Sheetala Ashtami, devotees get up early to prepare for the day’s events. Worship of the goddess Sheetala Devi is the main ritual, with the aim of obtaining her blessings for prosperity, good health and protection from illness – especially those associated with heat and infection. The puja ritual usually begins before dawn with a ceremonial bath, after which the idol or image of the deity is prepared. To symbolise the purity of body and soul, devotees diligently clean their homes and surroundings.

As part of the worship, special offerings such as fruits, sweets and freshly cooked food are presented. Along with chanting hymns and prayers in her honour, devotees often offer flowers to the goddess and light incense sticks. Some people fast on this day as a mark of devotion and to seek the blessings of Goddess Sheetala for the welfare of their families.

Significance of Sheetala Ashtami

Sheetala Ashtami has a deep significance in Hindu mythology and ritual. Goddess Sheetala Devi is considered to be the protector against diseases, especially those caused by summer heat like smallpox, chickenpox, measles etc. Worshipping her on this day, according to devotees, helps protect loved ones from illness and ensures their well-being. Families in the Basoda culture don’t light fires for cooking. Therefore, on the day of Sheetala Ashtami, most families cook the day before and eat stale food. In India, the festival also heralds the arrival of summer, making it even more appropriate to ask for the goddess’s blessings to ward off diseases associated with the changing climate.

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