An Indian festival called Ahoi Ashtami honors the goddess Ahoi, also called Ahoi Mata. It falls on “Ashtami,” or the eighth day of the month of Kartik in the dark fortnight, and is primarily observed in Northern India (Krishna Paksha). This religious celebration occurs eight days before Deepawali and four days after Karwa Chauth. However, this event takes place in the month of Ashwin, where the Amanta calendar is used, namely in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The only difference between the months is their names, although Ahoi Ashtami falls on the same day. As with Karwa Chauth, ladies refrain from eating and drinking throughout the day on Ahoi Ashtami. After seeing the stars in the sky, the fast is broken. Because Ahoi Ashtami falls on the eighth day of the month, it is also known as Ahoi Aathe.
After seeing stars in the sky, mothers break their fast during the Ahoi Puja, which is held in the evening. On the wall, devotees paint a portrait of Ahoi Mata or Ahoi Bhagwati and then perform Puja by giving maa food as a Prashad.
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Importance of Ahoi Ashtami:
The Ahoi Mata Vrat is observed by mothers on Ahoi Ashtami to ensure the health of their sons. In the past, mothers would only observe this fast for their sons. But today, they do it for the benefit of all of their children. Mothers pray to Goddess Ahoi for their children’s long, happy, and healthy lives as they fervently worship her. They break their fast after seeing and worshipping the moon or stars.
Additionally, childless couples regard this day as being of utmost importance. Women having trouble getting pregnant or who have already had a miscarriage should fervently practice the Ahoi Mata Vrat to give birth to a male. Because of this, this day is sometimes referred to as “Krishnashtami.” Couples and devotees swarm Mathura’s sacred site to partake in the ritual bathing in the “Radha Kunda.”
Story of Ahoi Mata Vrat:
This festival’s origins can be traced back to a mother with seven sons. One day, she went to the jungle to collect some soil. She accidentally murdered a cub or hedgehog’s child (Sei), who cursed her as she was tilling the ground. Her seven sons all passed away shortly after in a short period. She understood that the curse associated with killing the cub was to blame. She fasted for six days and pleaded with Ahoi Mata to bring her sons back. When the goddess heard about her requests, she returned all seven of her boys.
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat Vidhi:
The only distinction between the Ahoi Ashtami Vrat and the Karva Chauth Vrat is that the Karva Chauth Vrat is performed for husbands, while the Ahoi Mata Vrat is performed for children. Women or moms awaken before daybreak on this day. After taking a bath, women make a religious commitment, known as a “Sankalp,” to adhere to and finish the fast intended to ensure the health and happiness of their offspring. Mothers must observe the vrat without food or water by the “Sankalp,” The fast is broken after spotting the stars or moon.
Ashoi Ashtami Puja Vidhi:
- First, a portrait of Ahoi Mata is drawn on the wall. Due to its relationship with Ashtami tithi, the depiction of Ahoi Mata should have eight corners or Ashtha Koshthak. Also drawn is an image of Sei or the cub.
- On a wooden platform, a holy “Kalash” filled with water is positioned to the left of Maa Ahoi’s portrait. A sacred thread (Moli) is wound around the Kalash after a Swastik is drawn on it.
- Then Vayna, or cooked food, including Poori, Halwa, and Pua, is served to Ahoi Mata along with rice and milk. In the Puja, Maa Ahoi is also given raw food (Seeda) or grains like Jowar.
- The oldest female member of the family then tells the other female family members the Ahoi Ashtami Vrat Katha. While listening to the Katha, each woman must hold seven wheat grains in her hand.
- The Ahoi Ashtami Aarti is sung after the Puja.
- Silver Ahoi Mata, called Syau, is created and revered in some areas. After the Puja, it can be hung from a string with two silver pearls as a pendant.
- Women offer Argha from the holy Kalash to the stars or the moon based on their family tradition once the Puja is finished. Only after seeing the stars or after moonrise do they break their Ahoi Mata Vrat.
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