Why Durga Puja 2020 will Begin 35 Days after Mahalaya

Durga Puja 2020
Durga Puja. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

There is a month’s gap between Mahalaya and Mahashashthi, the first day of Durga Puja, this year.

Celebration for Durga Puja begins normally seven days after Mahalaya but this year it will be held 35 days later. This year, ‘Mahalaya Amavasya’ will be observed on September 17, 2020. The Durga Puja celebrations will be held between October 22 (Mahashashthi) and October 26 (Vijaya Dashami), this year.

This is because, Mahalaya marks the end of two-week Pitru Paksha Shraddha, which concludes on September 17 this year. With Mahalaya, people start looking forward to Durga Puja, the largest religious festival of Hindu community.

The 35-day unusual gap between ‘Mahalaya’ and ‘Mashashthi’ is attributed to a phenomenon called the ‘mala mash’ or an ‘unholy month’, NDTV reports.

A ‘mala mash’ is a month, which has two new moons or ‘Amavasyas’. During the period, auspicious rituals are avoided, according to scriptures.

There are two schools of almanacs, popularly followed by Hindus and also known as ‘Bisuddha Siddhanta’, (lunar calendar) and ‘Surya Siddhanta’ (solar calendar). These schools are in agreement over this year’s Durga Puja schedule, NDTV reports.

Durga Puja normally took place in Bangla month of ‘Ashwin’. But in 2020 it will happen in the next month — Kartik.

Ashwin is a ‘mala mash’ because of two new moons. The first day of ‘Ashwin’ corresponds to September 17. A new moon will rise on that day and the second one will be on October 16, the 29th day of ‘Ashwin’.

The most auspicious period when Durga Puja is celebrated – the ‘Devi Paksha’. It begins on October 17 with ‘Pratipad’ or the first day of the Sharadiya Navratri.

The last time such an unusual thing happened was in 2001. Before that the phenomenon happened in 1982.

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