The nine-day Hindu festival Navratri is here and the scores of devotees are immersed in the celebrations of the same. Temples have reopened in many parts of the country and allowing visitors with strict social distancing norms in place. People, who cannot visit temples, are celebrating at home. The auspicious time marks Goddess Durga’s descent on earth. It is said for these nine days, Goddess Durga is amid her devotees. People wake up early, worship the nine forms of the Goddess, offer bhog and prasad. Some of the devotees also observe the Navratri fast or vrat. The eighth day of Navratri is known as Ashtami. This day is particularly special for many devotees. It is celebrated in many different ways in different parts of the country. This year Ashtami would be celebrated on 24th October, 2020 by Hindus around the country. Let’s learn more about the auspicious day.
Date, Time , Puja Timings For Ashtami
Ashtami Tithi Begins – 06:57 AM on Oct 23, 2020
Ashtami Tithi Ends – 06:58 AM on Oct 24, 2020 (source Drikpanchang.com)
Ashtami Significance And Bhog
There are various puja rituals that re carried out on Ashtami. Many Hindu families hold Kanjak or Kanya Puja or Kanya bhoj on this day. Nine young pre-pubescent girls are invited to house and are served a delicious meal of kala chana, halwa and puri. It is said that these girls are avatars of Goddess Durga herself. Their feet are washed with water, they are tied a red holy thread or molli on the wrist and some small gifts like pencil box, clips and water bottles are also distributed among the girls.
In Bengal, the festive spirit reaches its zenith on the Durga Ashtami. The most important day of the five (Shashti, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashmi), Durga Ashtami is the day on which the special Sandhi puja is carried out. Hundred and eight earthen lamps are lit and Goddess Durga is also offered 108 lotus flowers and bilwa leaves too. As per the legends, on this day Goddess Kali appeared out of Goddess Durga’s third eye on her forehead in rage when she saw demon king Mahishasura breaching rules of the battle.
On this day, the Durga Puja bhog is also slightly elaborate than the usual. Bhog is a special feats given out to all devotees in the pandal during the lunch time. In those large handis you could spot a range of things from chana dal, paneer, palao, khichdi, rajbhog, tomato chutney, papad, salad, chorchori(mixed veg) to payesh and mishti doi. We know we wait for this special bhog every year, what about you?
How do you plan to celebrate Durga Ashtami 2020? Do let us know in the comments below!
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.