Siliguri, 16th September: Mahalaya is the day that marks the culmination of the Pitru Paksha period and the beginning of the Devi Paksha. However, this year, Durga Puja will be delayed by about a month owing to the Adhik Maas (leap month in the Hindu calendar).
With the passage of time, festivals' celebrations and significances have changed like everything else. The elderly people of the city recalled observing Mahalaya, waking up in the early hours and tuning into the radio to listen to the recital of Mahisasura Mardini by Birendra Krishna Bhadra to mark the beginning of the much-awaited festival - Durga Puja, almost every year. For them, Mahalaya began with the voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra. They then spent the entire day with their family.
The day, however, holds a different meaning for the youths. The advent of globalization and modernization has had an impact on the way of our festivals celebrations. The festivals, for the present generation, come as an escape from their busy lifestyle. Hence, they prefer spending festivals with their friends and loved ones. Nevertheless, some do miss the days when Mahalaya used to be spent with families at home.