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Sheetala Saptami puja is observed on the seventh day of the Chaitra month according to the Hindu calendar. This puja is dedicated to Goddess Sheetala who is believed to be the Goddess of sores, ghouls, pustules and diseases. She is popularly known as the pox Goddess as she is believed to protect her devotees from chicken pox and other related diseases.
The word Sheetala, literally means cool. It is believed that the Goddess provides coolness and calmness to her devotees who are suffering from diseases. Goddess Sheetala is usually depicted as a young maiden crowned with a winnowing fan, riding a donkey, holding a broom and a pot. She is also sometimes depicted as carrying neem leaves in her hands.
Most Read: Festivals In The Month Of March 2019
Sheetala Saptami 2019 Tithi, Dates & Muhurat
Sheetala Saptami this year will be observed on 27 March 2019. The Saptami tithi will begin at 20.01 on 26 March and end at 20.55 on 27 March. The sunrise and sunset timings for the day will be 5.41 am and 17.50 respectively.
On the day of Sheetala Saptami, the Goddess is worshipped by almost all the Hindu communities to get blessed and protected from skin diseases especially chicken pox. Let us take a look at the rituals and significance of the Shitala Saptami puja.
Rituals Of Sheetala Saptami Puja
The preparation starts a day before the festival. Devotees are supposed to cook sweet rice with jaggery added in it and leave it overnight. Nobody should eat it as it has to be offered to the Goddess first, on the festival day. On the next day ( Sheetala Saptami ), the devotees take bath early in the morning and perform puja before Goddess Sheetala. Thereafter, the rice that was prepared the last night is offered to the Goddess. Then the Vrat Katha and the Arti are recited.
It is said that the Puja has to be performed before the sunrise and at the same place where Holika Dahan was performed a day before Holi. After this, the rice is distributed among the devotees. Some communities do not cook food on this day at home. Rather, only this rice is eaten in breakfast.
Some people who have recovered from pox or those who want to prevent it perform 'mundan' or a head shave also in the honour of the Goddess.
Significance And Benefits Of Sheetala Saptami
Worshipping Goddess Sheetala on the auspicious day of Sheetala Saptami ensures protection from all kinds of skin diseases. She is worshipped as a form of Goddess Parvati and hence is considered to be an extremely merciful Goddess who always protects her devotees from all kinds of troubles and diseases.
The fast is generally observed so that the kids in the house remain protected against all forms of skin diseases, especially the chicken pox. People suffering from such diseases used to pay a visit to the temple of Sheetala Mata in the ancient days post which the recovery from the disease would begin. The tradition and its effects seem to continue till today.