The auspicious Ahoi Ashtami Vrat, Hoi Puja, or Ahoi-Athen Vrat (fast) is observed for the blessings of Hoi Ma by the mothers, in Northern India on a Kartik Krishna Paksha Ashtami from dawn to dusk, till the first star is sighted in the evening.
Ahoi Ashtami or Sri Krishna Ashtami or Hoi happens on Ashtami. Krishnashtami is the other name of this Ashtami.
Mothers observe this difficult fast and dedicate themselves to Hoi Ma for the safety, long life, prosperity, and well-being of their children.
This fast was kept by only mothers of sons, in the past. Now, married women who are facing delay in conceiving, or repeated miscarriage, also perform Puja on Ahoi Ashtami.
Date or Muhurat for Ahoi-Athen or Ahoi Ashtami Vrat, 2023
It falls generally four days after Karwa Chauth and seven days before the auspicious Diwali festival. This means Ahoi Ashtami Vrat and Diwali fall on the same weekday (Var).
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat will be on Sunday, November 05, 2023. This is on the eighth day of the waning moon. Krishnashtami is the other name of this Ashtami.
The evening time after sunset is the best time for performing Ahoi or Hoi Puja.
Method of Ahoi Athen/ Hoi Ma Puja or Ahoi Ashtami Vrat, Puja
In some traditional Indian families, making a garland of silver, for each child, called Hoi, using two or four silver beads or coins and a pendant made of silver annually, on Ahoi Ashtami.
It is a part of an important tradition. It can be worn on the neck as a silver chain or necklace.
Ahoi Ashtami Puja rituals
Arrange a wooden Chauki for Ahoi Puja in a neat and clean place, and cover it with a clean cloth.
Place a Karwa which is a small earthen pot or a small Kalash fill it with water and cover it with an earthen lid. Keep this Karwa or Kalash in a corner of Chauki before starting the preparations for Ahoi Ashtami Puja.
The Ahoi Ashtami Vrat and Puja rituals begin in the early morning with the making of the image of Ashtakostaka (an image having eight corners).
Image of Mata Ahoi along with Sei on the wall, by Alpana, designing or using a purchased picture of Ma Hoi on the wallpaper.
Then Sankalp (pledge) is taken for the prosperity and well-being of the sons or children.
Fasting women get up in a beautiful Sari or a dress and traditional ornaments. Then women worship and perform Puja and Arti with Deepak.
They offer Bhoga and Jal (holy water) to Ma Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Mata Ahoi, and Sei, traditionally.
After seeing the first star in the sky, women perform Ahoi Puja, traditionally.
They light Deepak (filled with Ghee) in front of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Parvati, and Ma Ahoi.
At the end of Puja, they perform Arti, narrating the Katha of Ahoi Mata, and offering Arghya (Jal) from Karwa (earthen pot) or Kalash to the star or Moon.
On Ahoi Ashtami, women perform traditional women’s folk Puja of Hoi Mata and Sei, as well.
Bhoga for Hoi Mata
Bhoga of eight Purie made of wheat – atta, eight sweet Pua (Puri) or Gulgule (sweet balls) or Halwa is also prepared for offering to the Hoi Mata.
Then after Puja, women give this food to some elderly women in the family or the Brahmin. They also give some money known as Dakshina or Bayana, as a mark of respect to her.
This Vrat is a difficult fast to observe, quite similar to Karwa Chauth. One can also observe the fast without taking fruits, food, and water.
Women can end this fast or Ahoi Ashtami Vrat only after the sight of the first star in the sky.
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat or Ahoi-Athen, which is popular in North India, falls on a different lunar month. But the English calendar date of Ashtami Vrat is the same in all the states of India.
Kartik Maas for States that follow Purnimanta calendar
Almost all the states of North India, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir follow the Purnimanta calendar. Odisha also follows the Purnimanta calendar.
The states, which follow Purnimanta calendar (month ends with Purnima or Puranmasi) Ahoi Vrat falls on Ashtami Tithi of Kartik Krishna Paksha.
Ashwin Maas for States that follow Amavasyanta calendar
All the Indian states that have a peninsular coastline (except Odisha), as well as Assam and Tripura, follow the Amavasyanta calendar.
The Indian states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, and the southern region of India, follow the Amavasyanta calendar (month ends with Amavasya).
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat falls in the lunar month Ashwin (Krishna Paksha) in the above states as Ashwin begins fifteen days late in these States.