The auspicious occasion of Sheetala Ashtami is celebrated every year on the eighth day after Holi. On this day, goddess Sheetala, also known as Sheetala Mata in many parts of the country is revered and her blessings are sought. This year, Sheetala Saptami is on March 28.
There are various legends and rituals associated with the day. It is also known by the name Basoda or Sheetala Ashtami Basoda. The festival is widely celebrated in parts of North India like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat.
Sheetala Mata worship and significance
On this day, fire is not lit, therefore fresh food is not prepared and the previous night’s food items are consumed. Goddess Sheetala protects her devotees from illnesses such as chicken pox, smallpox, and other contagious diseases.
Devotees on this day get up in the wee hours of the morning and take bath with cold water. Then they visit the Sheetala Mata temples and pray for the wellbeing of their families.
Sheetala Mata Vrat Katha is also recited on this day amongst the devotees. Some even perform Mundan (head shaving ceremony) in reverence to the goddess who protects against diseases while others observe Sheetala Mata Vrat on this auspicious day.