Ahoi Ashtami 2017: Date, Significance and Rituals
Mothers keep a fast for the well-being of their children on Ahoi Ashtami.
When Will Ahoi Ashtami be Celebrated?
Ahoi Ashtami will be celebrated on 12 October, this year. It is a fast kept by women in India. It is celebrated about eight days before Diwali. According to the Purnimant calendar, followed in the northern parts of India, Ahoi Ashtami falls in the month of Kartik.
Significance of Ahoi Ashtami
On this day, mothers fast from dawn till dusk for the well-being and safety of their children. They only eat after sighting starts in the night sky. Some women only break their fast after sighting the moon. The fast is kept in honour of Goddess Ahoi.
Ahoi Ashtami Rituals
In the morning, after bathing, women take the pledge or sankalp to keep the fast for the well-being of their children. They also pledge that they would not eat or drink anything at all.
The preparations for the puja or the prayer are to be done before sunset in the evening. The women draw an image of Goddess Ahoi on their walls. Along with the Goddess an image of Sei i.e. hedgehog and its children is also drawn. Sei is a spiny mammal from the legend of Ahoi Ashtami.
A kalash filled with water is also kept at the place of worship. A small earthen pot preferably Karwa is kept on the top of the kalash and filled with water as well. This water is later sprinkled in the house on the day of Diwali.
Then the place of worship is sanctified with holy water. Rice and radishes are kept in front of the Goddess’s image in a small bowl. Then a lamp is lit and the prayers are said.
During the prayer, the women hold the rice in their hands and then afterwards wrap it in a piece of cloth, like a sari or a dupatta.
Eight puris, 8 pua and halwa are used in the puja and later given to some elderly woman in the family.
The women break their fast in the evening after sighting either stars or the moon, according to their family tradition.
(With inputs from Jansatta and Drik Panchang.)
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