Indian Fast & Festivals

Ahoi Ashtami Vrat

15 Oct (Wednesday), 2014

03 Nov (Tuesday), 2015

22 Oct (Saturday), 2016

Significance

Celebrated in autumn on the Ashtami day, the Ahoi festival or Ahoi Ashtami is a fast observed by mothers for the well-being of their sons. The Ahoi Ashtami is usually celebrated in the months of October-November or the Karthik month (specifically the 8th day after full moon) in the Hindu calendar. Very similar to Karwa Chauth, although not as popular, the Ahoi Ashtami is performed mostly by people living in the North of India.

History

The story of Ahoi Ashtami relates to a woman who lived in a village with her seven sons. During the process of renovating and painting her house, she went to the forest to bring soil. This was during the month of Karthik just before the Diwali festival. While digging the soil, the axe accidentally falls and hurts a cub in a nearby den. Subsequently, the cub dies and the woman feels sorry and responsible for what happened to the cub. However, she takes the soil from the forest and returns home.

Over the next year, her seven sons die and she feels it is fallout of what happened with the cub in the forest. Unable to bear her guilt, she confesses her sin to some of her neighbors in the village. The neighbors tell her that by confessing her sin she has almost negated the effect of her sin. As atonement for her sin, they also suggest that she offer prayers to the goddess Ashtami Bhagawati by sketching the face of the cub.

So, the woman fasts on the Karthik Krishna Ashtami by praying and observing a fast regularly. She eventually gets back all her seven sons by the power of her prayer and ever since it becomes a ritual to worship the goddess Ahoi Ashtami Bhagawati every year. This story became popular and even today mothers fast and prays to Ahoi Mata for the well-being and bright future of their sons.

Determination of Date

For the long life of children Ahoi Ashtami is celebrated on Kartik Krishna Ashtami falling at Pradosh (evening). If Kartik Krishna Ashtami falls on two days but falls or does not fall at Pradoshkaal then it is celebrated on Second day otherwise first day.

How to Celebrate

The Ahoi Ashtami fast and prayer are almost similar to that of Karwa Chauth. People from different parts of North India celebrate the fast with a few variations. But broadly the following method is followed to observe the fast and prayer.

Mothers fast all day and offer prayers to Ahoi Mata. They wake up before sunrise, have some refreshments and proceed to the temple to offer prayers for their children. The fast ends in the evening when the moon appears. Some families also break their fast once they see the stars in the sky.

The picture of Ahoi Mata is painted on a wall and a bowl of water is placed on it. Printed calendars, posters and pictures of Ahoi Mata are now available and can be used in place of the wall painting. An untwisted red colored thread is wrapped around the bowl of water and the edges are smeared with turmeric powder and placed on the left of the picture. Then the story of Ahoi Mata is read out by an elderly lady in the household. All the other women sit down to listen to the story.

The other essentials required for the prayer include grains that are placed in a plate and positioned in the center of the picture. The food offerings include puris, halwa, boiled channa and jowar, etc. Of late, people have been offering sweets that their children like to eat. Money offerings are also placed before the Mata's picture. Once the reading of the story is done, the sweets and money are distributed among children and elders of the family. Some families also have the tradition of making a garland with silver coins or keepsakes. They keep adding to this garland when a child is born in the family or a son gets married. Every year the Ahoi Mata picture is adorned with this garland and this tradition is passed on to future generations.

Ahoi Ashtami Vrat
(For the long life of Son)

Method of Observing Ahoi Ashtami Vrat

Establish Kalash. Keep one calendar of Ahoi Ashtami Puja in front of you and read Ahoi Ashtami Vrata Katha. Offer oblation of Kheer and have food only once on that day.

Mantra

"Om Ahoi Devyai Namah"


Aarti Ahoi Mata Ji Ki

jay ahoi mata, jay ahoi mata|
tumko nisdin dhyavat har vishnu vidhata |
jay ahoi mata ||

brahmani, rudrani, kamla tu hi hai jagmata|
surya-chandrama dhyavat narad rishi gata |
jay ahoi mata ||

mata rup niranjan sukh-sampatti data|
jo koi tumko dhyavat nit mangal pata |
jay ahoi mata ||

tu hi patal basanti, tu hi hai shubhdata|
karma-prabhav prakashak jagnidhi se trata |
jay ahoi mata ||

jis ghar tharo vasa vahi men gun ata|
kar n sake soi kar le man nahin dhadkata |
jay ahoi mata ||

tum bin sukh n hove n koi putra pata|
khan-pan ka vaibhav tum bin nahin ata |
jay ahoi mata ||

shubh gun sundar yukta kshir nidhi jata|
ratan chaturdash toku koi nahin pata |
jay ahoi mata ||

shri ahoi man ki arti jo koi gata|
ur umang ati upje pap utar jata |
jay ahoi mata ||





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