The festive mood gets started in India with the celebration of Durga Puja. Durga Puja or Navratri is one of India's most popular festivals that no Indian perhaps want to miss.
West Bengal remains the centre of attraction during Durga Puja, and here, the festivity begins with the celebration of 'Mahalaya'.
Mahalaya is celebrated on Amavasya Tithi, and it is the day when “ Pitru Paksha” ends and “Devi Paksha” starts. People believe that it is the day when Ma Durga starts her voyage to her maternal home on the earth from Mount Kailash.
Mahalaya is celebrated to applaud the victory of Devi Durga over demon Mahishashura. The day is also celebrated by worshipping the ancestors of the Bengalees. People pray for peace for the departed souls of the family.
The members of a family, who take part in Shraddha, first need to take a bath to purify themselves. Many prefer to take a bath in the river Ganga on that particular day early in the morning. Then Shraddha or Pinda Dana takes place with the help of priests. Shraddha means to devote cooked rice mixed with ghee and black sesame seeds in the ancestor's name.
Mahalaya is an auspicious day, following which many Pooja Organizers in West Bengal bring their “Durga Pratima” to their Pooja Pandals. So, we can say that from Mahalaya, people start enjoying the festive mood of the long-awaited Durga Pooja.