The ashtami (eighth day) in the Krishna paksha (waning phase of the moon) of the Chaitra month (South India)/ Phalguna month (North India) of the is celebrated as Sheetala Ashtami. The festival is dedicated to Sheetala Devi, the goddess worshipped to ward off diseases like measles, small pox, chickenpox, cholera and various other skin diseases too.
Sheetala Devi is considered to be an incarnation of goddess Parvati. She is worshipped specifically on the day of Sheetala Ashtami to request for protection from epidemics and from the outbreak of fatal diseases.
Appropriate way to observe Sheetala Ashtami:
• Sheetala means cold. As a part of the observance, fire is not lit and no food is cooked on the day of Sheetala Ashtami.
• It is a practice to take a shower with cold water on Sheetala Ashtami.
• Sheetala Ashtami is also known as Basoda, derived from “Basi” food, which refers to food that is prepared the previous night. This food is offered to Sheetala Devi and is then, honored as prasad.
• Foods such as roti, poori, curd, preparations made out of bajra and rabri are the famous offerings on Sheetala Ashtami.
• It is highly recommended to distribute food to the poor and needy on Sheetala Ashtami to receive special blessings of Sheetala Devi.
Appropriate way to worship Sheetala Devi:
• Sheetala Ashtami is celebrated on the eighth day after the festival of Holi.
• The weapon of Sheetala Devi is a broom, her vehicle is a donkey and her consort is .
• Sheetala Devi is primarily worshipped in North India.
• In South India, goddess who has similar attributes as that of Sheetala Devi is widely worshipped.
• Sheetala Devi is also worshipped as Ola Devi in certain places like West Bengal and Bangladesh.
This year, Sheetala Ashtami falls on 24th of March. OnlineTemple.com prays to Sheetala Devi on the occasion of Sheetala Ashtami to bless you and your families with good health throughout the year.