Sheetala Ashtami: Worship of Goddess Sheetla
In the Indian culture especially in the Hinduism there are a lot of festivals when devotees pray different gods and goddesses. Sheetala Ashtami is celebrated in the state of Rajasthan as well as Gujarat, to worship Goddess Sheetla. It is celebrated few days after Holi. Sheetala Ashtami is also known as Baseda in Rajasthan while as Sheetala Atham in Gujarat. Goddess Sheetla is referred as Sheetla Maa that is known as Goddess who can help one get rid of Small pox which is a kind of disease. It is believed that if you pray to this goddess you will be kept away from many diseases, especially kids who are easy victims of all kinds of diseases. It is celebrated in the month of March or April depending on the Hindu calendar. It is worthwhile to watch the huge fair and other musical programs in different areas of Rajasthan as well as Gujarat. It is with great enthusiasm people participate in this festival across the state with colourful clothes and love to have various funny activities in the fairs in different cities and towns.
Rituals to be performed on Sheetala Ashtami
The previous day of Sheetala Ashtami is celebrated as Randhan Chhathh on which devotees cook various food items that they consume on the next day. It is said that on Sheetala Ashtami they should eat only cold and stale food. It is the stale food they offer to Goddess Sheetala. People get up early in the morning and take bath before sunrise. They visit Goddess Sheetla temple nearby and worship the Goddess. It is very good to listen to ‘Basoda Vrat Katha. On this day people take blessing from their elders. After offering the prepared food to goddess people eat the food as Prasad which is called Basoda.