Ahoi Ashtami is a fasting ritual which is performed by all Indian mothers for well being of their sons. This fast falls on the eighth day of dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) in Kartik month as per the Hindu calendar. On this auspicious day mothers keep fast for the whole day and in the evening they offer sacred water to stars and pray for well being of their sons. Especially people from different parts of North India celebrate this day with fasting with a few variations, But broadly the following method is followed to observe the fasting and prayer.
All mothers wake up before sunrise, to have some food and proceed to the temple to offer prayers for their children. The fast ends in the evening when the moon appears. Some families also break their fast once they see the stars in the sky.
Either the picture of godess Ahoi is painted or poster of godess Ahoi is pasted on a wall and a bowl of water is placed on it. Printed calendars, posters and pictures of Ahoi Mata are now available and can be used in place of the wall painting. An untwisted red colored thread is wrapped around the bowl of water and the edges are smeared with turmeric powder and placed on the left of the picture. Then the story of godess Ahoi is read out by an elderly lady in the household. All the other women sit down to listen to the story.
The other essentials required for the prayer include grains that are placed in a plate and positioned in the center of the picture. The food offerings include puris, halwa, boiled channa and jowar, etc. Money offerings are also placed before the Godess’ picture. Once the reading of the story is done, the sweets and money are distributed among children and elders of the family. Some families also have the tradition of making a garland with silver coins or keepsakes. They keep adding to this garland when a child is born in the family or a son gets married. Every year the Godess Ahoi’s picture is adorned with this garland and this tradition is passed on to future generations