Ahoi Ashtami is a significant Hindu festival celebrated in many parts of India. It falls on the eighth day of the waning phase of the moon, typically in the month of Kartik (October/November). This day is dedicated to mothers and their children, and it involves a special fast and rituals that symbolize the deep love and concern a mother has for her offspring. Ahoi Ashtami is a beautiful celebration that showcases the strong bonds between mothers and their children.
The Legend of Ahoi Ashtami / Story of Ahoi Ashtami
Ahoi Ashtami has an interesting legend associated with it. According to folklore, there was once a mother who had seven sons. They lived in a village that faced a severe food shortage during a time of famine. To save her children from hunger, the mother decided to dig a pit and store grains in it. She made a small mistake, however, and accidentally killed a baby rabbit while digging. Heartbroken and feeling guilty, the mother prayed for forgiveness.
Her heartfelt prayers and genuine remorse moved the goddess Ahoi Mata, who appeared before her. Ahoi Mata forgave the mother and blessed her with eight sons. In gratitude, the mother started observing a fast on the eighth day of the waning moon in the month of Kartik, which later became known as Ahoi Ashtami. This fast is now followed by mothers to ensure the well-being of their children.
Fasting Tradition / what are the Tradition on Ahoi Ashtami
On Ahoi Ashtami, mothers fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and well-being of their children. The fasting period is quite stringent, with women abstaining from food and water until the moon is visible. It is a test of their dedication and love for their offspring. The fast is broken only when they sight the moon and offer their prayers to Ahoi Mata.
Before breaking the fast, mothers prepare special dishes like puris, halwa, and kheer to offer to the deity. These dishes are traditionally prepared using specific ingredients that are believed to bring prosperity and health to the family. After the moon sighting and the prayers, the food is offered to the children before the mother herself breaks her fast.
Ahoi Ashtami is not just about fasting; it involves several rituals and customs that make the celebration special. Some of the key rituals include:
Painting: Mothers often paint the image of Ahoi Mata on the wall of their homes. This image is then decorated with vermilion, and rice grains are placed in front of it as an offering.
Ahoi Mata Story: On this day, mothers narrate the legend of Ahoi Ashtami to their children, instilling in them the values of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness.
Offering Prayers: Mothers offer prayers to Ahoi Mata and seek her blessings for the well-being of their children.
Gift-Giving: It is a common practice to exchange gifts on Ahoi Ashtami. Mothers often give their children new clothes, toys, or other presents as a token of their love and blessings.
Significance of Ahoi Ashtami
Ahoi Ashtami is a celebration of the eternal and selfless love that mothers have for their children. It highlights the importance of nurturing and protecting one’s family and the lengths to which a mother will go to ensure her children’s well-being. The legend of Ahoi Ashtami serves as a reminder that a mother’s love is unmatched and unparalleled.
Ahoi Ashtami is a beautiful and meaningful Hindu festival that celebrates motherhood and the special bond between mothers and their children. It is a day of fasting, prayers, and rituals that symbolize a mother’s deep love and concern for the well-being of her offspring. This festival is a testament to the selfless love of mothers and the values of sacrifice and forgiveness. Ahoi Ashtami is a time to reflect on the powerful role that mothers play in the lives of their children and to honor and celebrate their unconditional love.