Navratri 2022 Maha Ashtami: What is the significance of Ashtami? Know all about the celebrations, rituals and timings

Published on Oct 02, 2022 11:30 AM IST

Navratri 2022 Maha Ashtami: Maha Ashtami, also known as Ashtami or Durgashtami, is considered one of the most auspicious days of Navratri and Durga Puja festivities. It falls on October 3 this year. Here's all you need to know about his day's significance, celebrations, rituals and timings.

Devotees of Maa Durga will observe Maha Ashtami or Durgashtami on October 3, Monday.
Devotees of Maa Durga will observe Maha Ashtami or Durgashtami on October 3, Monday.

Maha Ashtami, also known as Ashtami, is celebrated with much zeal across the country. This auspicious day is dedicated to Maa Mahagauri, one of the avatars among the nine forms of Maa Durga, known as Navdurgas. For many who celebrate Durga Puja, Ashtami is also known as Durgashtami. It is one of the most important days during the extended celebrations. People also perform Kanya/Kumari Puja or Kanjak on this day.

Significance of Maha Ashtami:

Maha Ashtami is the third day of Durga Puja or the eighth day of Navratri. It is one of the most poignant dates as it celebrates the victory of the Goddess Shakti over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. On this day, Durga Maa's devotees worship her eighth avatar, Maa Mahagauri. The Goddess represents purity and is known for bestowing wealth and an opulent lifestyle on her worshippers. Additionally, praying to Maa Durga on this day can help devotees get rid of all their problems and relieve themselves from all sins. The Ashtami vrat (fast) is deemed the most significant, as it is believed to bring prosperity and luck in one's life.

(Also Read | Dussehra date 2022: When is Dussehra in 2022? Know the date and puja time)

Maha Ashtami Celebrations and Rituals:

On Maha Ashtami day, the celebrations begin with mahasnan or a grand bath to rid oneself of impurities. Following this ritual, devotees install nine small pots to invoke nine Shaktis of Goddess Durga. All the nine forms are then worshipped during Maha Ashtami Puja. Devotees should also wear new clothes for the ceremony and offer Maa Mahagauri yellow flowers, halwa, puri and black chickpeas.

The legendary Sandhi Puja is also done on Maha Ashtami. According to Drik Panchang, it is performed during the last 24 minutes of Ashtami Tithi and the first 24 minutes of Navami Tithi. This period is known as Sandhi time/Kala or the holy juncture during Durga Puja. It is customary to light 108 earthen lamps and perform balidan/animal sacrifice during Sandhi Kala. Those who abstain from this ritual can do a symbolic balidan with banana, cucumber or pumpkin.

Lastly, during Ashtami, devotees of Goddess Durga perform Kanya/Kumari Puja or Kanjak by worshipping young unmarried girls. They are considered divine manifestations of Goddess Shakti and are presented with special Navratri preparations. In this ritual, worshippers wash their feet, offer them red dupatta, bangles, and a few other tokens of gratitude, and ask for their blessings.

Ashtami 2022 Date and Timings:

Devotees of Maa Durga will observe Ashtami on October 3, Monday. The Ashtami Tithi begins on October 2 at 06:47 pm and ends on October 3 at 04:37 pm. During Maha Ashtami celebrations, worshippers, especially women, break their nine-day-long Navratri fasts - observed to get blessings from Maa Durga and her nine avatars (Navdurgas) - after performing Kanya Puja.

However, some people also break their fasts on Navami or by following the Parana time. It is the special muhurat when people can end their vrat. Drik Panchang says the Parana time will be after 02:20 pm on October 4, 2022. However, depending on family traditions followed for generations, one can break the fast before noon after finishing Kanya Puja, either on Maha Ashtami or Maha Navami.

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