Ahoi Ashtami is a fast observed by mothers who practice Hindu religion for the well-being of their children. The festival is celebrated on the eighth day after the full moon in the month of Karthik according to the Hindu lunar calendar. The fast is similar to Karwa Chauth and it is observed by people belonging to the northern parts of India especially Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. People from different regions celebrate the festival with a few variations. However, the rituals which are followed are almost same.
The day is dedicated to Ahoi Mata. On this day, mothers offer prayers to Ahoi Mata and observe fast all day. The fast ends after sighting the stars or moon in the sky.
The women observing the fast wake up before sunrise. They take bath and go to a local temple for prayers. Then they begin the fast for full day until they see the stars or moon in the sky. Nothing is eaten or drunk during the fasting period. The place of worship is sanctified with holy water. Then an image of Ahoi Mata is drawn on the wall. These days people stick readymade calendars of Ahoi Mata on wall. A small kalash made of mud is filled with water and placed on the left side of Ahoi image. A sacred red coloured thread called as ‘moli’ is tied around the kalash. A bowl full of rice grains is placed in the centre of the picture. Money offerings are done. Food offerings also play a significant role in puja rituals. They include eight puris, eight sweet puas and halwa. Radishes having green leaves and chestnuts (singhara) are also kept in front of Ahoi Mata image. In the evening that is the sandhya time, an elderly lady in the house reads out the story of Ahoi Mata. All other women in the house sit around the elderly woman and listen to the story with full devotion. A lamp is lit while listening to the story. During the prayers, women hold rice grains in their hands and then after listening to the story, they tie them in their sari pallu. After the story reading is done, Ahoi aarti is performed. Then puas and halwa are distributed among children and elders of the family. When the stars appear in the sky, they are worshipped by offering water and homemade sweets. In some communities, the moon is worshipped in the same way instead of stars. The rice grains tied in the pallu are offered to the stars or the moon while offering prayers. After sighting and worshipping the stars or the moon, women break their fast.
Every child has a unique bond with his/her mother and nothing can replace her love in this world. This festival is celebration of motherhood which is one of the most beautiful experience for a woman. Although many people do not know about this festival because it is celebrated in some selected communities of northern India, the festival is gaining popularity year by year.
Ahoi Ashtami tithi begins on October 21, 2019, 6:44 AM and ends on October 22, 2019, 5:25 AM.
The day is also known as ‘Krishnashtami’. On this day childless couples take a holy dip in ‘Radha Kunda’ at Mathura and pray to Radha-Krishna to bless them with children. Devotees from all over the country come and throng the place on this day. It is believed that if a woman is facing problem in conceiving, performs Ahoi rituals and observe fast with full devotion, she is definitely blessed with a child by the blessings of Goddess Ahoi.
May you and your family receive the grace and love of Ahoi Mata!
Happy Ahoi Ashtami!