Ahoi Ashtami: A Day of Fasting and Prayers for Mothers

Ahoi Ashtami: A Day of Fasting and Prayers for Mothers

Ahoi Ashtami is a significant festival celebrated in many parts of India, especially in the northern regions, where mothers fast and pray for the well-being and longevity of their children. This auspicious day falls on the eighth day of the Hindu month of Kartik, four days after Karva Chauth. The festival holds immense religious and cultural significance, and it is observed with great devotion and enthusiasm.

Origin and Significance

The origin of Ahoi Ashtami dates back to ancient times and is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology. According to the legend, there was a poor woman who lived in a village with her seven sons. One day, while digging the earth for renovation work, she accidentally killed a young lion cub. Out of regret, she prayed to Goddess Ahoi Bhagavati and asked for forgiveness. The goddess appeared before her and blessed her, assuring her that her sons would be saved from the consequences of their actions. The woman’s sons were subsequently saved from death, and they lived long and prosperous lives.

Since then, Ahoi Ashtami is celebrated to honor the blessings of Goddess Ahoi Bhagavati and seek her protection for the well-being of children. Mothers believe that observing a fast on this day will ensure the longevity and prosperity of their offspring.

Fasting Rituals

On Ahoi Ashtami, mothers observe a strict fast from sunrise to moonrise, abstaining from food and water. The fast is considered a way to purify the body and mind, showing devotion and commitment to the well-being of their children. The fast is broken only after sighting the moon in the evening, usually after performing the evening prayers.

Prayer and Rituals

The day begins with mothers waking up early and taking a ritual bath. They then dress up in traditional attire and adorn themselves with jewelry. They prepare a sacred space in their homes and create a makeshift shrine dedicated to Goddess Ahoi Bhagavati. The shrine is decorated with pictures or idols of the goddess, along with other symbols of fertility and prosperity. It is believed that the goddess resides in the walls of the house, so some women draw a picture of the goddess on the wall.

Mothers then offer prayers to the goddess, reciting hymns, and performing traditional rituals. They offer fruits, milk, and other food items as offerings to the goddess. Some also offer wheat grains, dates, and water in a copper pot known as Ahoi Ghata. The pot is decorated with vibrant colors and symbols of prosperity. It is believed that the blessings of the goddess are invoked in the pot, and it becomes a symbol of protection for the family.

After the prayers, mothers tie a red thread (moli) on their wrists, symbolizing the protection of their children. They also apply a red tilak on their foreheads, which is considered auspicious. The day is spent in fasting, prayers, and spending time with family.


Q: Can men also observe the fast on Ahoi Ashtami?

A: Though Ahoi Ashtami is primarily observed by mothers, fathers can also participate in the rituals and prayers. However, it is not common for men to observe the fast.

Q: Is the fast observed only by mothers of sons?

A: No, mothers of both sons and daughters observe the fast. The fast is not limited to any specific gender of the child.

Q: What is the significance of the red thread and tilak?

A: The red thread and tilak are believed to bring good luck and protect the children from evil forces. It is a symbol of the mother’s love and devotion towards her children.

Q: Can pregnant or breastfeeding women observe the fast?

A: Pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised not to observe a strict fast. They can modify the fast by consuming fruits, milk, and light food items.

Q: Are there any regional variations in the way Ahoi Ashtami is celebrated?

A: Yes, different regions in India have their own unique customs and rituals associated with Ahoi Ashtami. The core essence of fasting and praying for children’s well-being remains the same, but the rituals may vary.

In conclusion, Ahoi Ashtami is a special day dedicated to mothers and their unconditional love for their children. The festival is a reminder of the strong bond between a mother and her offspring. It is a time to reflect on the blessings of motherhood and seek the divine protection and well-being of our loved ones.