One of the small and grand festivals is the Sheetala Ashtami festival, which is celebrated in Rajasthan. The Sheetala Mata fair is held at a small hamlet in Chaksu, Jaipur, Kaga and Jodhpur with great passion and zeal.
Sheetla Ashtami is celebrated during the spring season in the month of March or the beginning of April, right after seven days of Holi.
It is a common belief among all the people that worshiping Sheetla mata on Sheetla Ashtmi would prevent them from the deadly outbreak of diseases.
Sheetla Mata is commonly called the goddess of small pox. The huge excitement and gusto of celebration of the festival is worth watching. The local market is the hub to display and trade a lot of items like indigenous shoes, food items, agricultural implements during the fair on this festival.
Even cattle are sold here. Flocks of people dressed in colorful attires add brightness in the environment.
Musical events are organized in which the participants display their talent. There are also a lot of rituals and religious activities to be performed during the play. People feed old and needy people on the day and seek their blessings.
It is noticeable though, that some communities observe the eighth day of Krishna Paksha of every month as sheetalashtami. But the most auspicious one is the Chaitra Krishna Paksha Ashtami.
Devotees prepare food on the day before Sheetla Asthami and visit the to perform the puja of the goddess on the festival along with the food. People gorge on this food which is called Baseda in local lingo as a prasad of Sheetla mata. Some consider Bajra, Rabri and curd as an essential offering on this occasion.
Time to Celebrate
The auspicious day of Sheetalashtami, or Sheetala Ashtami, is dedicated to Goddess Sheetla in the month of Chaitra (March – April) as per the traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India. Devotees keep fast on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) in Chaitra month to cure from measles, chicken pox and small pox.