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Kartik Krishna Ashtami is a popular festival which is also known as Ahoi Ashtami. This festival is mainly observed by mothers. Mothers keep fast and offer prayers to Ahoi Mata for the happiness, well being and long life of their children.
This festival gains its significance from the fact that it is observed for the well being of children. It is believed that a mother, who keeps Ahoi Ashtami vrat (fast) with full devotion and with proper rituals, gets blessed with the long life and prosperity of her children.
Ahoi Ashtami is celebrated on the 8th day after full moon of Kartik month (October-November) as per Hindu calendar. It falls a week before Diwali, one of the main Indianfestivals.
Legends and Beliefs
The legend explains that once there lived a woman with her seven sons. One day, she went to get some soil for the renovation and painting of her home. She started digging with an axe near a den. By mistake, the axe fell on a cub and he died. Woman felt bad about it but she could not undo what had already happened. Within one year, all her seven sons died. In deep grief, she shared her loss with the old ladies of the village. They asked her to worship Goddess Ashtami Bhagwati by sketching the face of the cub. She observed fast and offered prayers to the Goddess. Pleased by her devotion, the Goddess blessed her with her seven sons who had died.
Rituals and Celebrations
People in different parts of Northern India celebrate Ahoi Ashtami vrat. On the day of Ahoi Ashtami, mothers should worship Goddess Ashtami Mata (mother) and keep a fast in order to receive her blessings. The women who observe this fast have some food and drink before dawn and progress to the temple to offer prayers and seek blessings for their children. An image of Ahoi Mata is drawn on the wall on this day. The Ahoi Mata Katha story is read out and then prayers are offered in the evening. After this, women give reverence to her their mother-in-law by touching her feet. The fast is broken after sighting moon.
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