‘Maha Ashtami’ also popular as ‘Durga Ashtami’ is celebrated on the eighth day of Sharad Navratri. Explore details, date and auspicious time for puja on Mahashtami.
As per tradition, ‘Maha Ashtami’ or ‘Durga Ashtami’ during Navratri is significant for many important rituals. While the mantra chanting and 'aarti' is similar to other days, on this day fasting is undertaken by a huge number of devotees in reverence to the nine forms of Durga. As many as sixteen items including ghee, honey, nuts, spices, curd and flowers are offered during the Puja. The holy 'panchamrit' made with honey, curd, milk, ghee and sugar is also offered. Devotees who perform the fasting ritual with complete devotion and diligence are believed to earn the blessings and benevolence of Maa Durga as they perform the fasting, recite the Durga Chalisa and other scriptures, read the 'Vrat Katha', and sing 'bhajans'. ‘Havan’ is also performed. In some communities, it is a day marked for worshipping household tools or arms, as it has associations with the worship of Maa Durga's weapons.
Durga Ashtami 2020 Date
Durga Ashtami also involves a tradition of worshipping 'yoginis' or female associates of Maa Durga.
The Sandhi puja commences in the last 24 minutes of Ashtami Tithi and continues till the first 24 minutes of Navami Tithi. According to Markandeya Purana, it was during this juncture that Maa Durga appeared in her Chamunda form and successfully killed the demons 'Chand' and 'Mund'. In the puja, the number 108 holds great significance, as 108 lotuses are offered and 108 diyas are lit. Bel leaves, grains and a fruit are offered as ‘naivedyam’. The symbolic sacrifice of a vegetable or a fruit is also a significant part of the puja.