Durga Puja 2020: The two-week 'Pitru Paksh Shradh' ends on September 17 with 'Mahalaya Amavasya' when people start looking forward to the Durga Puja. Unlike other years, this year we have to wait for a month before welcoming Goddess Durga on 'Mahashashthi', which marks the beginning of the Durga Puja. On a normal year, the gap between 'Mahalaya' and 'Mahashashthi' is six days. This year 'Mahasashthi' is on October 22.
The 35-day gap between 'Mahalaya' and 'Mashashthi' is attributed to a phenomenon called the 'mala mash' or an 'unholy month' when auspicious rituals are avoided, according to scriptures. A 'mala mash' is a month, which has two new moons or 'Amavasyas.'
The two schools of almanacs popularly followed by Hindus, known as the 'Bisuddha Siddhanta' (lunar calendar) and 'Surya Siddhanta' (solar calendar) are in agreement over this year's Durga Puja schedule. Durga Puja normally happens in the month of 'Ashwin' but now it will take place in the next month, that is, 'Kartik'. Ashwin is a 'mala mash' due to two new moons. The first day of 'Ashwin' corresponds to September 17, which is a new moon and the second one will be on the October 16, the 29th day of 'Ashwin', in the Hindu calendar.
The most auspicious period when Durga Puja is celebrated - the 'Devi Paksha' - starts on October 17 with 'Pratipad' or the first day of the Sharadiya Navratri.
The last time such an unusual thing happened was in 2001 and before that the phenomenon was seen in 1982.
Durga Puja 2020: Days and dates
- Panchami: October 21
- Shashthi: October 22
- Saptami: October 23
- Ashtami: October 24
- Navami: October 25
- Vijaya Dashami: October 26 - the last day of Navratri culminating in Dussehra.