Monday, March 16, 2020
Sheetala (means the “one who cools” in Sanskrit) Ashtami is dedicated to Goddess Sheetala and celebrated 8 days after the festival of Holi.
It falls on the 8th day of Krishna Paksha (the period of the brightening moon/ waxing moon), and the second fortnight of the month of Chaitra.
Let’s understand the significance of this festival, its scheduling time and the rituals observed on the day.
The Idol of Goddess Sheetala
She is holding a pot of water, a broom with dustpan and Neem leaves. She is sitting on a donkey. The relevance as simply understood, is to highlight the importance of cleanliness, staying hydrated and using herbs such as Neem that act as natural antibiotics for the body.
Since this day falls during the transition from Spring to summer, the ritual is to eat meals prepared during the previous day. It is a reminder that this is the last day of the year when you can consume previous days food.
The upcoming summer season will not allow for the same, with rising temperatures and growth in microorganisms (refrigeration just postpones their growth, but microorganisms are in the air once temperatures rise).