Paragraph on Sitala Puja (323 Words)

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Shrines of Sitala Devi are spread all over India and is a minor deity of small-pox.


She is depicted in imagery as dressed in red clothes and armed with reeds, to chastise her victims, her vehicle (vahana) is the donkey over which she is supposed roam about in the country.

During small-pox epidemics, she is propi­tiated with offerings but particular days are set apart for her worship.

Four of such days are as follows:

(i) Sitala Sasthi:


Magha Sukla Sixth is observed in Bengal in hour of Sitala.

(ii) Sitala-Saptami:

Falls in the month of July-August, this minor festival of the Hindus held two day after the Nag Panchami. On the day, the deity Sitala, the small-pox goddess is worshipped. During this festival only cold food is prescribed, i.e. to abstain from any hot or cooked food. The Sitala-Saptami falling on Sravana Krishna Paksha is observed in Gujarat.

(iii) Sitala Astami:

This occurs on Phalguna Krishna eight is current in north­ern India.

(iv) Sitala:

One of the goddess of hot season is Sitala, the ‘Cool one’, she is honoured especially on the eighth day of the waxing fortnight of Vaishakha as well as on other waxing eighths during the hot season.

In Maharashtra, especially in the Thane district, at Kelve a large fair is organised on the Vaisakh full-moon night, in honour of the deity Sitala. This deity, occasionally associated with the goddess Sasthi, is distinguished by two characteris­tics one is that prayers and offerings can be offered to her by widows, by mothers, on behalf of their children and secondly her worshippers are to abstain from taking any hot or cooked food or drink as she is supposed to come and roll on the hearth and no cooking is to be undertaken lest it should harm or hurt her. The real reason, considered with justification, is the keen desire for cold water by small-pox suf­ferers.

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