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Sheetla Saptami

Friday, 02 April 2021
Sheetla Saptami

Sheetla Saptami is an important Hindu festival dedicated to Goddess Sheetla or Sheetla Mata. It is celebrated twice a year, once during the 'Krishna Paksha Saptami' of the month of Chaitra and the other during the 'Shukla Paksha Saptami' in the month of Shravan. According to the Gregorian calendar, these dates fall in the months of March – April and July – August, respectively. Of these two, Sheetla Saptami is very important in Chaitra month. On Sheetla Saptami, Hindu devotees worship Goddess Shitala to protect their family members, especially children, from infectious diseases such as chicken pox and smallpox. This festival is celebrated with great pomp throughout India, especially in rural areas. In the southern states of India, Devi Shitala is worshiped as 'Devi Polramma' or 'Devi Mariamman'. In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, a similar festival is celebrated as Sheetla Saptami, known as 'Pola Amavasya'. In 2021, it is to be celebrated on Saturday 03 April.


Rituals during Sheetla Saptami


On Sheetla Saptami, Goddess Sheetla Devi is worshiped. People get up early in the morning and bathe in cold water. Later they go to temples dedicated to Sheetla Mata to offer their prayers. On this day various rituals are performed for a peaceful and happy life.


On Sheetla Saptami, some devotees also get a 'mundan' (shaving of the head) done in honor of Goddess Sheetla.


In some places, people do not prepare food on this day, but rather eat the food of the bygone day.


Some devotees also observe a fast to please Goddess Sheetla on this day. Women mostly keep this fast for the safety of their children.


Importance of Sheetla Saptami


The significance of Sheetla Saptami is described in 'Skanda Purana'. Sheetla Saptami is dedicated to the goddess Shitala. In Hindu mythology, Sheetla Mata is the goddess of smallpox. She is considered an incarnation of Goddess Parvati and Goddess Durga, two forms of Shakti worshiped in Hinduism. Goddess Sheetla is known to those suffering from chickenpox or smallpox and also represents the healing power of nature. Hindu devotees worship Shitala Mata with their children on this day, so that they can guard against such diseases. The word 'Sheetla' means 'cold' and it is believed that the goddess Sheetla provides coolness to the devotees suffering from infectious diseases. In some rural areas of India it is still customary to offer animal sacrifices to please the goddess.

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