Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday greeted the nation on the occasion of Mahalaya and prayed for “peace, prosperity and happiness” in the society.

“Shubho Mahalaya! I pray that the festive season furthers the atmosphere of peace, prosperity and happiness in our society,” Modi tweeted.

Celebrated a week before the five-day Durga Puja begins, Mahalaya essentially heralds the homecoming of the goddess and signifies the end of Pitri Paksha (the period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors) and the beginning of Debi Paksha (period of the goddess).

On the day, devotional songs, scriptural recitations and prayers are recited to invoking goddess Durga to descend on Earth.