The bond between a mother and a child is sacred. There is no other relationship that can take its place or imitate the same intensity. Ahoi Ashtami is a Hindu festival that celebrates this bond.
Ahoi Ashtami is a fasting ritual observed across the country. It is believed to strengthen the sacred bond of a mother and her children.
It is said when a mother observes Ahoi Ashtami fast safeguards the lives of her children and their bond too. To safeguard her child’s life, fasting is the easiest thing. Every mother holds the courage to go beyond!
Let us guide you around the Ahoi Ashtami Fast and its rituals.
Ahoi Ashtami 2020 Date and Time
Ahoi Ashtami is observed on the Ashtami Tithi or the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha, the dark fortnight of the moon, during the month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar.
It is observed during the Hindu month of Ashwin. It corresponds to the months of mid-October to November in the English calendar.
Ahoi Ashtami is observed 8 days before the Diwali and four days after the festival of Karwa Chauth, another similar fasting festival.
Ahoi Ashtami 2020 Date: 8th November 2020, Sunday
- Ashtami Tithi Start: November 08, 7:29 am
- Ashtami Tithi End: November 09, 6:51 am
- Ahoi Ashtami Puja Mahurat: From November 08, 5:40 pm to November 08, 6:58 pm
- Other Important Timings On Ahoi Ashtami:
- Sunrise: November 08, 6:40 AM
- Sunset: November 08, 5:40 PM
- Moonrise: November 09, 12:12 AM
Ahoi Ashtami 2020 Procedure
Every Hindu festival is incomplete without the proper procedure being followed. Ahoi Ashtami has its own set of rules.
Let us have a look at Ahoi Ashtami procedure in order:
- Women wake up before sunrise. They bathe and have food. Until the stars are still in the sky and the sun hasn’t risen, mothers are allowed to eat and drink.
- Once, the sun rises, the women are forbidden from eating anything. Even drinking water is forbidden.
- Mothers visit the temple in the morning to worship Mother Goddess and pray for the well being of their children.
- In the evening, before the sun sets, preparations for the puja’ are made. Traditionally, a drawing of Ahoi Ma or Ahoi Bhagwati is made on a clean wall using geru or embroider it on a piece of cloth and hang it on a wall.
- The image of Ahoi Mata used for the puja should have Ashtha Koshthak i.e. eight corners. Since the festival is associated with Ashtami Tithi. The name of the ward is written below it. Nowadays, many people put up a poster of the goddess instead.
- An earthen pot (karwa) of water covered with its lid is placed on the left side of the image. The nozzle of the Karwa is blocked with the shoots of the grass, Sarai Seenka which is a type of willow.
- A thread dipped in vermilion is tied around the Karwa with its ends are dipped in turmeric. Make sure the thread isn’t twisted while tying.
- Place another earthen pot on the right filled with wheat grains or jowar. Cover it up.
- A plate with an offer of halwa, puri, and chana are placed before the goddess’ poster along with some singhara or water chestnuts.
- Also, sugarcanes with leaves are preferred by many. The sugarcanes need to have leaves.
- Goddess Ahoi is worshipped in the evening as per the puja mahurat. An elderly woman or a priestess reads the story and the mothers listen to it.
- Then the mothers wait for the stars to be seen to break their fasts.
- When the stars are finally visible in the sky, women perform ‘arg’ seven times to the stars offering bhog and water. The seven grass shoots are also offered to Ahoi Mata.
- After completing the last ritual, they finally break their fast and accept the first morsel of food from their child.
- In some parts, it is mandated to offer ‘daan’ to a brahman in the form of food, money, or clothes.
What To Eat During Your Ahoi Ashtami Fast
The Ahoi Ashtami fast is considered to be one of the most difficult fasts. Women are prohibited from eating anything all day long. The prasad is cooked which the mothers accept only after completing the fast.
Ahoi Ashtami prasad includes:
- Puris: The count of puris is said to be the same as the number of members of the family.
- Halwa: Generally, suji or semolina halwa is made for the sweet part of the thali.
- Chana: Black grams are fried in mustard oil with minimal spices.
- Singhara: Singhara or water chestnuts are also offered to the goddess. All fruits are acceptable for bhog.
- Sugarcane: In rural areas, sugarcane is prominent for the offering.
What To Avoid During Your Ahoi Ashtami Fast
All members of the family are forbidden from eating any kind of tamasik food. The food prepared is very simple and satvik in nature.
One should avoid the following things at all costs during their Ahoi Ashtami fast:
- Onions and garlic
- Any form of Alcohol
- Any form of Non-vegetarian food including chicken, eggs, fish.
- All types of split pulses.
Ahoi Ashtami Story
Like every other ritual and festival of the Hindu culture, Ahoi Ashtami also has a beautiful tale behind it. The scriptures describe it like this.
A long time ago in a city, there lived a moneylender who had seven sons. Once upon a time, when only seven days were left for Diwali, the family was cleaning the house.
For the renovation of their house, the wife went to collect mud from an open-pit mine near the river. A hedgehog had built its den in the mine too.
Unaware of the den, the wife started digging for mud. In doing so, her hoe hit a hedgehog cub. The blow of the hoe killed the cub instantly. The hedgehog cursed the wife. Seeing this, the wife returned home, heartbroken.
After a few days, the curse took shape. The woman’s eldest son died, and the following suite her other six sons also died within a year. After the death of all her children, the mother started to perish.
Seeing this an elderly asked her the reason for her gloominess. The mother told her everything about the hedgehog curse and that it was completely unintentional of her to kill the poor cub.
The elderly consoled her and said that half of her sin has already been redeemed by her repentance. She further suggested the mother observe Ahoi Ashtami fast. She was told to worship Goddess Bhagwati.
With recourse from Goddess Bhagwati, she should draw a picture of the hedgehog and its cubs. Worship them and apologize for her actions. By doing so she will be benefited. Also, all of her sins will be cleansed.
The moneylender’s wife obeyed the old woman and worshipped Mother Ahoi. Fasting on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha of Kartik month, she started doing this regularly every year and with time, she got seven sons.
It is said that since then the faith in Goddess Bhagwati and fasting on Ahoi Ashtami has been instilled in mankind. The ritual has been prevalent for ages now.
Importance of Ahoi Ashtami
Ahoi Ashtami is a fasting and puja ritual dedicated to Goddess Ahoi. She is invoked and worshipped by the mothers across the country for the well-being of their children.
It is believed that Ahoi Ashtami fast is especially undertaken by mothers who have sons. And also by mothers who wish to birth a son and those who are childless.
However, it is just a prolonged myth. Since ancient times, Indian households have repeatedly have placed their sons on a higher pedestal than the daughters.
This myth took root from the Ahoi Ashtami fast story. The story mentions seven sons and no daughters. Hence, many stemming from this claim that this fast in only for sons.
If you ask a mother, she can’t differentiate between her son and her daughter. She loves them equally. And thus, this fast is for the long life and happiness of children.
Mothers worship Goddess Ahoi on this day with full devotion and fervor. They observe fast and perform rituals as mentioned in the holy texts.
It is also known as Ahoi Athe. the reason it is called Ahoi Ashtami is that it falls on the eighth day of the respective month. Goddess Ahoi is non either than Goddess Parvati.
Many women who haven’t borne any offspring and are childless also observe this fast. It is believed that women who face miscarriage or have problems in conceiving get blessed with the child by performing the Ahoi Ashtami puja.
For childless women, this fast is called Krishnashtami. On this occasion, couples take a holy dip in the ‘Radha Kunda’ at Mathura at Arunodaya, which is before sunrise. Also, they worship Goddess Kushmanda.
Mathura sees a lot of activity on Krishnashtami as devotees from all over the country come and throng the place in the hope of being blessed by a child.
Ahoi Ashtami Traditions and Rituals
Ahoi Ashtami is popular in the rural regions of the country. Traditions and rituals hold a special place in the rural mindset. There are many traditions that the urban mother might overlook but the rural mother.
Here are some some popular folklore traditions of Ahoi Ashtami:
- Women are expected to take a ‘Sankalp’ or ‘pledge’ after bath to complete the fast with a pure heart and complete honesty.
- The image drawn of Ahoi Mata should have ‘Ashtha Koshthak’ or eight corners. Along with other images, the picture of ‘Sei’ that is the hedgehog with its children is also drawn close to Goddess Ahoi.
- The nozzle of this karwa is blocked with a special grass known as ‘Sarai Seenka’. It is considered important to have this particular type of grass.
- The preparations of the puja should conclude before sunset.
- Ahoi Ashtami lays special importance on complete things. This is the reason why the sugarcane needs to have its leaves.
- Some devotees use Ahoi made from silver. This silver form is known as ‘Syau’ and is worshipped with milk, roli, and akshata. After the puja, this ‘Syau’ is woven in a thread with two silver pearls and worn by women around their neck.
- In some families, women keep a traditional garland made of silver or gold coins, belonging to generations of that family. It is offered in front of the deity while performing the puja.
- Whenever a new member is added to the family, a coin is added to the garland. This same garland is used every year for the Ahoi Ashtami puja.
Ahoi Ashtami like many other fasting festivals is a popular ritual in India. Rural and urban households celebrate it with equal fervor. Though, rural women place more faith in it.
It is a fast celebrating the bond of a mother and child. The mother observes fast for the well being and longevity of her children. She breaks the fast only after sighting the stars at night.
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