Basoda (बसोडा) Puja is dedicated to Goddess Sheetala and celebrated on Krishna Paksha Ashtami after Holi. This year, it will be celebrated on Friday, 1 April 2016. Basoda is also known as Sheetala Ashtami. Usually it falls after eight days of Holi but many people observe it on first Monday or Thursday after Holi. Sheetala Ashtami is more popular in North Indian states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
According to Basoda customs families don’t lit fire for cooking. Hence most families cook one day before and consume stale food on Sheetala Ashtami day. It is believed that Goddess Sheetala controls smallpox, chickenpox, measles, etc. and people worship her to ward off any outbreak of those diseases.
Sheetla Ashtami Worship
As mentioned earlier, stale and cold food is offered to Sheetla Mata on this day. This is known as Basauda. This is done on the day of Ashtami. Devotees also fast on this day and worship Goddess Sheetla. Sheetla Mata’s story is also recited. After this, she is worshipped and Sheetlashtak is read. Sheetlashtak explains the magnificence of Sheetla Mata. Her mantras are also chanted.
After Sheetla Mata’s worship, Prasad is distributed among all the devotees. Sheetla Ashtami is known as Basauda in northern India. According to beliefs, keeping this fast eliminates all kinds of health problems like fever, chickenpox, eye problems etc.
Importance of Sheetla Ashtami
Food is not cooked in a home on this day. Sheetla Mata is worshipped on the Ashtami Tithi of Krishna Paksha in Chaitra, Vaishakh, Jyeshtha and Ashadh months. Hence, these days are known as Sheetla Ashtami. In present times, Sheetla Mata’s worship encourages a person about cleanliness and hygiene.
A person is inspired to keep his surroundings clean and tidy. It is very important to keep your surroundings clean to protect yourself from the negative impacts of environmental changes. Hence, Sheetla Mata’s worship is very important.