The auspicious Ahoi Ashtami Vrat or Ahoi -Athen fast is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm especially in North India by the women. It is observed on a specific Ashtami, from dawn to dusk, till the first star is sighted in the evening ,by fasting mothers on Kartik Krishna Paksha Ashtami , dedicating to Hoi Ma for safety, long life, prosperity and well- being of their children (for their sons in the past).
Ahoi Ashtami is also known as Sri Krishnashtami . Married women who are facing child related problems for a long time, such as delay in conceiving, repeated miscarriage, may also perform Puja on Ahoi Ashtami for fulfilling their child related desires.
It falls generally four days after Karwa Chauth and seven days before the auspicious Diwali festival, mean Ahoi Ashtami Vrat and Diwali are celebrated on the same weekday (Var).
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat will be observed on Thursday, October 12, 2017, this year. Evening time after the sunset is considered the best time for performing Ahoi or Hoi Puja.
Method of Ahoi Ashtami Puja
In some families, making of a garland for each child, called Hoi, using two or four silver beads or coins and a pendant made of silver, annually on Ahoi Ashtami, is a part of an important tradition. It can be worn in the neck as a silver chain.
A wooden Chauki is arranged for Ahoi Puja in a neat and clean place, a Karwa(a small earthen pot) or a small Kalash filled with water and covered with an earthen lid, is placed in a corner of Chauki before starting the preparations for Puja. The Vrat and Puja rituals begin from the early morning with making of the image of Ashtakoshtak (image having eight corners) and Mata Ahoi along with Sei on the wall, by Alpana designing or using a purchased picture of Ma Hoi on the wall paper, with taking Sankalp (pledge) for the prosperity and well-being of children. Fasting women worship and perform Puja of Ma Parvati, Lord Ganesha , Mata Ahoi and Sei, traditionally.
Ahoi Puja is performed by lighting Deepak, Arti (performed at the end of Puja), narrating katha of Ahoi Mata, offering Arghya (Jal) from Karwa (earthen pot) or Kalash to the star or Moon and performing traditional women folk Puja of Hoi Mata and Sei. Bhoga of eight Puries made of wheat – atta, eight sweet Pua or Gulgule and Halwa is also offered to the Hoi Mata. This food is given to some elderly women in the family (or the Brahmin) with some added money known as Dakshina or Bayana, as a mark of respect. This Vrat is a difficult fast to observe, quite similar to Karwa Chauth, as this fasting is also done without taking fruits, food and water. Fast is ended after the sight of the first star in the sky.
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat or Ahoi Athen, popular in North India, falls on different lunar month, though the English calendar date of Ahoi Ashtami Vrat is the same in all the states of India. All the Indian states that have a peninsular coastline (except Odisha), as well as Assam and Tripura follow Amavasyant calendar. Odisha and all other states, i.e. almost all the states of the North India, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himanchal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir follow the Purnimant calendar. The states, which follow Purnimant calendar (month ends with Purnima or Puranmasi) Ahoi Vrat falls on Ashtami Tithi of Kartik Krishna Paksha.
The Indian states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra and southern region of India, which follow Amavasyant calendar (month ends with Amavasya), Ahoi Ashtami Vrat falls in the lunar month Ashwin (Krishna Paksha )as Ashwin begins fifteen days late.