Hindu mothers in India celebrate the significant festival of Ahoi Ashtami. According to the Hindu calendar, they observe it on the eighth day of the waning phase of the lunar month of Kartik (between October and November).
The festival has great importance as it dedicates to the well-being and longevity of children, particularly sons.
The term “Ahoi” derives from “Ahoi Mata,” which means “mother who protects from evil.”
On this day, mothers fast from dawn until sighting the stars in the evening.
They abstain from consuming food and water as a form of penance and devotion to pray for the welfare of their children. The family breaks the fast after sighting the stars, and they prepare a special meal to share.
During Ahoi Ashtami, mothers draw or paint the image of Ahoi Mata on the walls of their homes or pieces of paper. The image typically depicts a mother with her children.
People believe that by worshiping and invoking the blessings of Ahoi Mata, they ensure the well-being, health, and prosperity of their children.
In some regions, mothers also observe the ritual of placing seven small clay pots in a row, symbolizing their seven sons, and offering prayers to Ahoi Mata.
People fill these pots with water and keep some grains inside them. They then place the pots in a sacred place or the prayer room and do not touch or disturb them until the next Ahoi Ashtami.
It is a time when families come together to honor the maternal bond and pray for the well-being of their children. People celebrate the festival with love, devotion, and gratitude for the blessings of motherhood.
For the sake of their boys, mothers used to fast on Ahoi Ashtami from sunrise until nightfall. However, in contemporary India, mothers follow the fast to ensure the health of all children, including sons and daughters.
They break their fast in the twilight after spotting the moon in the sky. The moon rises late at night on Ahoi Ashtami, making it challenging for some women to break their fast after seeing the moon.
Approximately eight days precede Diwali Puja and four days follow Karwa Chauth, which are Ahoi Ashtami fasting days.
Ahoi Ashtami 2023 is on November 05, Sunday
Astami tithi timings: November 05, 1:00 am – November 06, 3:18 am
Ashtami Puja Muhurat : November 05, 5:42 pm – November 05, 7:00 pm
Important Timings On Ahoi Ashtami 2023
|Sunrise||November 05, 2023 6:38 AM|
|Sunset||November 05, 2023 5:42 PM|
|Ashtami Tithi Begins||November 05, 2023 1:00 AM|
|Ashtami Tithi Ends||November 06, 2023 3:18 AM|
|Moonrise On Ahoi Ashtami||November 06, 2023 12:19 AM|
|Ashtami Puja Muhurat||November 05, 5:42 PM – November 05, 7:00 PM|
Significance of Ahoi Ashtami
Mothers keep this fast from sunrise to nightfall for the sake of their children. Approximately eight days precede Diwali Puja and four days follow Karwa Chauth, which are fasting days. This, like Karwa Chauth, is more well-known in North India.
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat Katha
According to Ahoi Ashtami’s tale, a city once had a moneylender living there. His son’s number is seven. The family was once busy cleaning the house with only seven days until Diwali.
The moneylender’s wife went to a nearby open-pit mine to gather mud for their home’s repair. The moneylender’s wife began searching for mud without seeing that a hedgehog had constructed a den in the mine.
Her hoe struck a hedgehog cub in the process, quickly killing it.
This deeply saddened the moneylender’s wife. She went back to her house, brokenhearted.
The woman’s oldest son passed away a few days later as a result of the hedgehog mother’s curse, followed by the death of her second son, likewise, her third son also died and in one year all their seven sons died.
The woman began living a very depressed life due to losing all her children.
She sobbed as she confided her tragic tale to an elderly neighbor one day, admitting that she had accidentally murdered the cub and that her seven boys had perished as a result of the sin she had not intended to commit.
The elderly woman consoled her after hearing this by telling her that half of her sin had been atoned for by her repentance.
Additionally, the woman claimed that she would benefit on the day of Mata Ahoi Ashtami if she invoked Goddess Bhagwati, drew a picture of a hedgehog and its young, worshipped them, and expressed regret for her actions.
In addition, the woman said that, by God’s grace, doing so would atone for all of her sins.
Mother Ahoi was revered and obeyed by the moneylender’s wife. On the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in the Kartik month, she started regularly fasting, and over time, seven boys were born to her.
The vrat has been a tradition ever since.
Ahoi Ashtami Rituals
It is a traditional Hindu festival celebrated by mothers for the well-being and prosperity of their children.
It falls on the eighth day after the full moon in the month of Kartik (October/November) according to the Hindu lunar calendar.
The festival is primarily observed in North India, particularly in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
Here are the typical rituals associated with Ahoi Ashtami:
On this day, mothers observe a strict fast from sunrise to moonrise for the well-being of their children. This fast is considered significant and is believed to bring prosperity and protection to the family.
Preparing the Puja:
The mother prepares for the puja by cleaning the house and the puja area. The puja room or a designated space is decorated with traditional rangoli (colorful patterns made on the floor), flowers, and pictures of deities.
In the evening, mothers gather with other women in the neighborhood or family members to narrate the story of Ahoi Ashtami.
The story revolves around a mother who inadvertently kills a small animal while digging soil for her children.
The dying animal curses her, and as a result, all her children suffer. Eventually, she realizes her mistake and prays to the goddess Ahoi Bhagavathi to seek forgiveness.
The goddess appears to her in a dream and instructs her to observe the fast, which ultimately leads to the well-being of her children.
Drawing the Vrat Katha:
After narrating the story, the mother or the eldest woman present in the gathering draws the Vrat Katha (a picture depicting the story) on the wall using a mixture of cow dung and mud.
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat Katha Puja:
The Vrat Katha is worshipped and offered prayers.
The puja typically involves lighting a diya (oil lamp), offering fruits, nuts, and sweets as prasad (sacred food offering), and reciting hymns and mantras dedicated to Goddess Ahoi Bhagavathi.
Breaking the fast:
After sighting the moonrise, the mother breaks her fast by consuming water or other traditional food items as per family traditions. This marks the end of the fasting period.
Blessings and Gift exchange:
Once the fast is broken, family members seek the mother’s blessings. The children present gifts to their mothers as a gesture of gratitude for their love and care.
It’s important to note that customs and rituals may vary slightly from region to region or among different families. The above description provides a general overview of the common rituals observed during the festival.
In conclusion, Ahoi Ashtami is a heartfelt and cherished festival celebrated by mothers in North India. It is a day dedicated to the well-being and prosperity of their children.
The fast observed by mothers on this day is a symbol of their unwavering love and devotion. Through storytelling, puja rituals, and the drawing of the Ashtami Vrat Katha, mothers pay homage to the goddess and seek her blessings.
The festival not only strengthens the bond between mother and child but also emphasizes the importance of forgiveness, compassion, and gratitude.
It serves as a beautiful reminder of the selfless love and sacrifices made by mothers, making it a truly special and significant occasion for families.
Q1: What is Ahoi Ashtami?
A1: It is a Hindu festival celebrated by mothers in North India. It falls on the eighth day after the full moon in the month of Kartik (October/November) and is observed to seek the well-being and prosperity of their children.
Q2: Who observes the fast?
A2: Mothers, particularly those with sons, observe the fast. It is believed to bring blessings, protection, and long life for their children.
Q3: What is the significance of the fast?
A3: The fast is believed to be auspicious and is observed as a gesture of love and devotion towards their children. It is said to bring prosperity and safeguard the well-being of the family.
Q4: What rituals are performed during this festival?
A4: On this day, mothers observe a strict fast from sunrise to moonrise.
They clean the house, decorate the puja area, narrate the Ahoi Ashtami Vrat Katha (the story associated with the festival), draw the Vrat Katha on the wall, and perform puja rituals by lighting lamps, offering prayers, and reciting hymns.
Q5: Is Ahoi Ashtami celebrated only by Hindus?
A5: Yes, Ahoi Ashtami is primarily celebrated by Hindus, especially in North India. It is deeply rooted in Hindu traditions and customs.