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What is Basoda? How it is Celebrated?

Basoda, a festival steeped in tradition and reverence, holds significant importance primarily in Northern India, particularly in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. Celebrated eight days after the festival of Holi or on the Thursday or Monday following Holi in some communities, Basoda marks the worship of Goddess Sheetala, the deity believed to protect against epidemic diseases. This year the auspicious day will be celebrated on 2nd April, 2024 according to Panchang.

When is Basoda Celebrated?

Basoda falls on the eighth day (Ashtami) during Krishna Paksha in the month of Chaitra, according to the Hindu calendar, typically corresponding to April or March in the Gregorian calendar. This timing coincides with the onset of the summer season, a period associated with changing weather and an increased risk of diseases and infections. Devotees seek the blessings of Goddess Sheetala to safeguard against such ailments.

Significance of Basoda

In various parts of India, Basoda is synonymous with Sheetala Ashtami, dedicated to worshipping Goddess Sheetla. She is revered as the protector against smallpox and other contagious diseases. Legend has it that worshipping her on Basoda ensures protection from such afflictions.

Rituals of Basoda Puja

The term “Basoda” itself means “stale,” indicating a unique ritual associated with the festival. On Sheetala Ashtami, devotees refrain from lighting fires in the kitchen and consume only stale food prepared the previous day. Special dishes like Sweet Chilla and Gulgule are prepared for the occasion, symbolizing adherence to tradition and reverence for the Goddess.

Celebrations Across Regions

Basoda is celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm across different regions:

Rajasthan: The festival is marked by flavorful meals and vibrant fairs where devotees offer various food items to Goddess Sheetla.

Madhya Pradesh: Special events, including fairs and religious gatherings, take place in temples dedicated to Sheetala Mata, attracting devotees and tourists alike.

Gujarat: Devotees in Gujarat worship Sheetla Mata and partake in festivities, enjoying specially prepared food items offered to the Goddess.

Basoda Vrat Katha

On Basoda, people pray to Goddess Sheetala by chanting special Katha to make her happy and get her blessings. In old stories, Sheetala Mata is known for curing diseases like smallpox. It is said that once she got a special power from Lord Brahma, but it came with a condition that people must always worship her and keep lentil seeds (Urad Dal) with her. Once, while visiting other gods, these seeds turned into germs that caused diseases like smallpox. The gods then asked her to go to Earth with these germs.

When she reached Earth, she went to the kingdom of King Birat. He was a big believer in God Shiva but didn’t want to worship Sheetala Mata above Shiva. This made Sheetala Mata angry, and she released many kinds of diseases. Many people got sick, and some even died. When the king realized his mistake, he apologized to the goddess, and she cured everyone. That’s why people believe in fasting on Basoda and eating stale food to please Sheetala Mata.

Summing Up

Basoda is not merely a festival but a time-honored tradition that underscores the reverence for Goddess Sheetala and the belief in her protective powers. As devotees gather to celebrate Basoda, they reaffirm their faith and seek blessings for good health and well-being. Let us embrace the rituals and spirit of Basoda, honoring Goddess Sheetala and ensuring prosperity and vitality for all.

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