On Mahalaya – the last day of Pitru Pakhsa and the beginning of Devi Paksha – Goddess Durga came to Earth to battle Mahishasur. She fought him for nine days and nights and on the tenth day, Mahishasur was killed.
Shosthi is the sixth day of Devi Pakhsha and marks the formal beginning of Durga Puja in Bengal. In West Bengal and other Eastern part of India, the following four rituals are performed on Sasthi –
- Kalparambho (the beginning of the Pujo)
- Bodhan (the consecration of Ma Durga’s idol)
- Amantran (inviting the Goddess)
- Adhivas (sanctifying the stay of the Goddess in the puja area of the pandals)
The ‘Bodhon’ rituals include the unveiling of the face of the idol. Bodhon, Amontron and Adibas are the important rituals of Sasthi apart from Kalparambho.
But Bengalis believe that on the day of Sasthi, Uma (Goddess Durga), who is identified with Parvati the divine consort of Shiva comes to home of her father from her husband place with her 4 children -Ganesha, Kartika, Laxmi and Saraswati.
This is why all the ladies participate in the setting up of the Durga Ghat before the idol on Sasthi. They formally welcome Uma as a daughter on her arrival for three day trip to his father’s house. In other parts of India the sixth day of Navaratri is celebrated as Durga Sasthi or Maha Sasthi.