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Ahoi Ashtami Vrat
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat will be celebrated this year on 20th October 2011 on Thrusday. Ahoi Ashtami Vrat is one of the most important festivals in North India. Ahoi Ashtami falls on the eighth day of dark fortnight (Krishna Paksh) in Kartik month. Ahoi Ashtami Puja and Vrat is dedicated to Ahoi Mata Bhagavati by mothers for the welfare and long life of their sons. For this, mothers keep fast through out the day. Only after offering water to stars in the evening and praying for the longevity of their sons, the mothers break fast.
A painting of Ahoi Mata is prepared on the wall of the house with red colour. Name of all the male members of the family are written along with symbols of Sun, Moon, plant of Holy Basil and other auspicious items in the frame of painting.
Nowadays due to lack of time, a picture or idol is placed in the Puja room of the house. Apart from this a small pitcher with water is placed on the left of the picture of Ahoi Mata. Some chest nuts (singhadha) are also placed in the Puja. Tilak of Haldi is applied on the forehead of the members of family.
A small garland made with silver beads is also placed before the deity. This garland is considered very auspicious for the family. In the evening ladies in the family listen to Ahoi Vrat Katha from one elderly lady of the family.
Vrat Katha point out the importance of this Vrat and is connected with the story of a mother who had lost her seven sons as a curse when she unintentionally killed a cub in the forest. However, with the blessing and Vrat of Ahoi Mata she was able to get back all her sons.
This is my much loved festival. Since my childhood till now I wait excitedly for this festival every year. In my early days, I was very inquisitive to celebrate this event and used to practice painting of Ahoi Mata with red colour on the wall and helping family members in the rituals of worshipping the Goddess Ahoi Maa Bhagawati. The pleasant climate during this period adds to the holiness of this festival.
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