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Sheetla Saptami is one of the most popular Hindu festivals celebrated in honor of Sheetla Mata or Goddess Sheetla. People worship Sheetala Mata to protect their children and family members from suffering from diseases like small mother and smallpox.
The major festivities are celebrated in rural areas and mainly in the regions of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. In various parts of southern India, the deity is worshiped as 'Mariamman' or 'Goddess Polramma'. The festival of Sheetla Saptami is also celebrated in the regions of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka under the name of 'Polla Amavasya'.
In the year 2021, Sheetala Saptami will observe on Saturday, 3 April 2021
Sheetla Saptami Puja Muhurat = 6:12 am to 6:36 pm
Duration = 12 hours 23 minutes
Saptami Tithi on 3-Apr-2021 = 5:58 AM
Saptami Tithi on 4-Apr-2021 = 4:12 AM
The relevance of the Sheetla Saptami festival is clearly described in Skanda Purana. According to the scriptures and Hindu mythology, Goddess Sheetala is an incarnation of Goddess Durga and mother Parvati. Goddess Sheetla is a symbol of the healing power of nature. On this auspicious day, devotees and their children worship together and pray to the deity to be safe and protected from diseases like small mother and smallpox. The word 'Sheetla' literally means 'coldness' or 'calm'.
There are many legends and stories related to Sheetla Saptami fast. According to one of the most important legends associated with the festival, there was a king named Indradyumna. He was a generous and virtuous king who had a wife named Pramila and a daughter named Shubhakari. The daughter was married to Rajkumar Gunaban. In the kingdom of Indradyumna, everyone used to observe Sheetla Saptami fast every year with eagerness. Once during this festival, Shubhakari was also present in his father's kingdom. Thus, he also observed the fast of Sheetla Saptami, which is celebrated as a ritual of the royal household.
To perform the ritual, Shubhakari left for the lake with his friends. Meanwhile, on their way to the lake, they wandered their way and asked for help. At that time, an old woman helped him and guided the way to the lake. He helped them in performing rituals and observing the vow. Everything became so good that even Sheetla Devi was pleased and gave a boon to Shubhakari. But, Shubhakari told the goddess that she will use the boon when she needs it or she wants something.
As they were returning to the state, Shubhakari saw a poor Brahmin family mourning the death of one of their family members due to a snake bite. For this, Shubhakari remembered the boon that Sheetala Devi had bestowed on her and Shubhakari prayed to Goddess Sheetala to give life to the dead Brahmin. The Brahmin regained his life. Seeing and hearing this, everyone understood the importance and auspiciousness of observing the Sheetala Saptami Vrat and worshiping. Thus, from that time everyone started observing the fast every year with perseverance and dedication.