On Ahoi Ashtami mothers hold a fast from dawn to dusk for the well-being
of their sons. Fast is broken during twilight after sighting stars in
the sky. (Some women break the fast after sighting the moon but it might
be difficult to follow as the moon rises late in the night on Ahoi
Ahoi Ashtami fasting day falls approximately eight days before Diwali
Puja and four days after Karwa Chauth. Similar to Karwa Chauth, Ahoi
Ashtami is more popular in North India. This day is also known as Ahoi
Aathe because fasting for Ahoi Ashtami is done during Ashtami Tithi
which is the eighth day of the month.
Most women in the neighborhood gather for the puja in the afternoon or
an hour or so before sunset for the Ahoi Puja. A painting of Ahoi mata
is made on the wall or a picture or idol is placed in the Puja room.
Water in a pitcher or bowl or jug is placed on the left of the picture
of Ahoi mata.An untwisted red colored thread is wrapped around the bowl
of water and the edges are smeared with turmeric and kumkum
powder.Locally available Grains are placed on a tray or plate and are
kept in front of the picture of Ahoi mata.Prasad or food offerings that
are made are also placed in front of the idol. The Prasad made include
pooris, halwa, sweets, boiled channa or jowar.Some people also place the
money intended to be distributed before the photo of Ahoi Mata. The
money is given to children or the poor after the puja. There is also an important tradition of making garland using coins or
currency notes by some families. Some people make garland using
something very unique that is found in the region or something that is
important to the family. Some families also have the tradition of making
a garland with silver coins or small silver balls. They keep adding to
this garland when a child is born in the family or a son gets married.
Every year the Ahoi Mata picture is adorned with this garland and this
tradition is passed on to future generations. Some people make a new
garland each year; others make a new garland if something highly
auspicious happened in the family during the year.
Once all the puja items are ready, women listen to the Ahoi Ashtami Vrat
katha from an elderly lady. Those mothers doing the puja either listen
to the story on audio or CD or read the story. Once the star "Dhuruva
Tara" is spotted, an aarti is performed before the portrait of Ahoi
Mata. Women pray for a couple of minutes or mediate before Ahoi Mata.
They pray for the well being and long life of their children. The fast
is broken by eating some Prasad. The Prasad is also shared with family
members, children and neighbours.
Many stories are associated with this festival which relate to asking
for wish and blessings for their sons.
Once upon a time, there lived a woman in a village. She had seven sons.
One day she went to the forest to bring soil for the renovation and
painting of her home (this was in the month of kartik just before the
Hindu festival Deepawali). She started digging soil with axe nearby a
den. Suddenly the woman's axe fell on the cub in the den and the cub
died. The woman felt very sorry and sympathetic. She took soil from the
forest and came back.
Few days later, all her seven sons died within a year. She was very sad.
One day she narrated her woes to old ladies in her village, she was
crying and told them that she didn't commit the sin and it happened
unintentionally. She narrated to the ladies that once when she was
digging for the soil in the forest her axe fell on the cub and
thereafter within a year all my seven sons died. The ladies appreciated
for confessing her guilt and then these ladies told that by confessing
the sin she has atoned her half of the sin.
They suggested the woman to pray the goddess Ashtami Bhagwati by
sketching the face of the cub. By the grace of god your sin will cast
off. The woman kept fast on the Kartik Krishna Ashtami and then onwards
she started praying and keeping fast regularly. By the power of her
prayer the God's grace showered and she could get back her all seven
son. Since then, it became a ritual to worship the goddess Ahoi Ashtami
Bhagwati religiously every year.
Once upon a time there was a potter family. They had two brothers, whose
families lived in one house. One day, the younger brother asked his
wife to dig up and bring clay pots for a pre-Diwali market. While
digging, she accidentally killed 7 baby foxes with her spade. Their
mother came out, very angry. She laid a curse on the potter family "your
family will die, because you have killed mine". The woman cried, asking
the foxes forgiveness, "I will do anything you want, but please spare
my family". The fox said, "you will have to give me seven of your
children, as they are born, as a compensation".
The woman agreed and returned home feeling very sad. Following this
incident, whenever she had a child, she took it and gave it to the
mother fox. Every year on Hoi Ashtami, all other women of the house
celebrated and everyone was happy, except her. One day, a sage came to
their house and told her that if she prayed to Hoi mata with full
devotion, she may be able to reverse the curse put upon her by the fox.
The next year, the woman fasted and prayed with complete devotion. Hoi
mata was pleased. She requested the mother fox to return the woman's
children, she has suffered enough. Fox agreed and returned the
woman& children. Her family was complete. Once again her home
was filled with the noise and laughter of children.
Maa Ahoi AArti
Jai Ahoi Mata Jai Ahoi Mata. Tumko Nisdin Dhyavat Hari Vishnu Dhata II
Brahamni Rudrani Kamla tu he hai Jag Datta. Surya Chandrama Dhyavat
Narad Rishi Gatta II Jai...
Mata Roop Niranjan Sukh Sampatti Datta. Jo koi Tumko Dhyavat Nit Mangal
Patta. II Jai...
Tu he hai Pataal Basanti tu he hai Sukh Datta. Karma Prabhav Prakashak
Jagniddhi se Trata II Jai...
Jis Ghar Tharo Vaas wahi mein Gunna atta. Kar na sake soi kar le Mann
nahi Ghabrata II Jai...
Tum bin Sukh na hovay Putra na koi Patta. Khan-Paan ka vaibhav tum bin
nahi atta II Jai...
Subh gun Sundar Yukta Sheer Niddhi Jatta. Ratan Chaturdarsh tokun koi
nahi Patta II Jai...
Shree Ahoi Ma ki Aarti jo koi gatta. Ur Umang Atti Upjay Paap Uttar
Jatta II Jai...
Om Shree Ahoidevibhyon Namah
With Best Wishes & Love as always