Cherishing the essence of Motherhood: Ahoi Ashtami

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The day for mothers to shower the precious love upon their kids by fasting, for their happiness and prosperity is Ahoi Ashtami. A different version of Karva Chauth, this vrat is considered auspicious for mothers to keep her children healthy and happy. This festival symbolises the deep rooted love of Ma (mother) and her Mamta (motherhood), who not only nourishes an embryo in her womb but also feel connected as one soul to her child.

When is Ahoi Astami celebrated?

Ahoi Ashtami falls on the eighth day after full moon or Krishna Paksha in the Kartik month of Hindu calendar. It is generally observed four days after Karva Chauth or eight days before Deepawali. This festival is more prominent in northern part of India than others.

Relevance of Ahoi Ashtami:

According to our traditional rituals, it is said that once there was a lady who had seven sons. She went to the forest for getting soil for renovating her house. As she was digging the soil, suddenly the axe slipped from her hand and it hit a baby cub. The baby cub shouted with pain and died at the spot. The lady felt sorry and depressed but now there was nothing left, which she could transform. She went back home but the clouds of misery didn’t left her way and she lost her seven sons within a year. Later she confessed her pain and agony with few of her neighbours and they suggested her to perform the remorseful act. She prayed to Goddess Ashtami Bhagwati to get rid of her sins and null the effect of her deed. From then on, she was completely involved in praying to Ahoi Mata and kept fast on the Krishna paksha Ashtami. Goddess was pleased by her faithful devotion and forgave her for killing the cub. She even got her seven sons back, by the grace of Goddess. Since then, this tale is an inspiration for mothers to fast and pray to Ahoi Mata for the well-being of their children.

Procedure of Vrat:

Ladies wake up early morning before sunrise, eat something and then begin their fast till evening. The nirjalahaar (without food and water) vrat ends when the moon appears at night or few of them end it by seeing stars in the sky. An idol of Ahoi Mata is placed or painted on the wall. A bowl of water is kept on it and the red colour thread is twisted around the bowshubhpuja.coml, smeared with turmeric. Story of Ahoi Mata is recited by the elderly lady of the house and everybody listens to her.

Special food items are prepared on this day like puris, halwa, boiled channa and jowar, etc depending upon the tradition. Sweets are offered to Goddess Ahoi and further distributed among the other family members. A garland of silver coins is also offered to Ahoi Mata and the coin keeps on increasing as further generations are added to the family.

This festival is an epitome of love and care of motherhood. It’s a celebration of cherishing the eternal bond between kids and mothers. This fast is just an occasion but actually it is a scientific process of personal development through which the selfless love is nurtured within beings and spreads the message of humanity among the world.

 

Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja

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