Basoda is a Hindu festival that celebrates Goddess Sheetala, the deity of smallpox, diseases and heat. It is observed on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the waning moon phase (Krishna Paksha) in the month of Chaitra (March-April), usually eight days after Holi. Some people also celebrate it on the first Monday or Friday after Holi. Basoda is also known as Sheetala Ashtami.

The word Basoda means “stale” or “leftover” in Hindi. This is because one of the main rituals of this festival is to avoid cooking any fresh food on this day and consume only stale food that was prepared a day before. This is done to appease Goddess Sheetala and prevent her wrath from causing diseases and epidemics. It is believed that lighting fire in the kitchen would anger the goddess who resides in cold places.

The stale food that is eaten on Basoda includes roti (flatbread), sabzi (vegetable curry), kheer (rice pudding), halwa (sweet dish) and other dishes that can be stored without refrigeration. Some people also offer this food to Goddess Sheetala at her temples or at home before eating it themselves. The food is usually served cold or at room temperature.

Apart from eating stale food, devotees also worship Goddess Sheetala by offering her flowers, fruits, sweets, vermilion, turmeric and water. They also sing hymns and songs in her praise and listen to her legends and stories. Some people also perform a special puja called Sheetala Saptami Puja on the previous day of Basoda.

Basoda is a festival that marks the transition from winter to summer season. It is celebrated with devotion, joy and simplicity by millions of Hindus across India, especially in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It is a way of expressing gratitude to Goddess Sheetala for protecting them from diseases and heat strokes.