Mothers observe the Ahoi Ashtami fast for their children’s wellbeing four days after the strenuous Karwa Chauth vrat. Similar to the Karwa Chauth fast, the Ahoi Ashtami fast is observed without food or drink from sunrise to sunset, and it is broken upon stargazing. After a moon sighting, the fast is broken in some families. The festival is widely celebrated in North India with great zeal and enthusiasm, falling about eight days before Diwali.
The modern Ahoi Ashtami vrat is kept for both son and daughter, although in the past it was kept for the longevity and well-being of sons. On this day, worshippers honour Goddess Ahoi Ashtami Bhagwati, who is the reincarnation of Goddess Parvati, and receive her blessings.
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat Katha
A long time ago, in a home tucked away in a thick forest, lived a woman with seven sons. A few days prior to the Diwali festival, she made the decision to go get some soil for her house’s renovation and repairs. She killed a lion cub by accident when she was tilling the ground. The woman felt responsible for the cub’s death and went back home, filled with regret and guilt. The woman remembered the terrible death of the lion cub at her hands when her seven sons vanished within a year of the incident, leading the villagers to believe that they had been killed by wild animals in the forest.
After talking about this with an elderly neighbour, she was advised to fast without food or drink and to worship Ahoi Bhagwati by drawing the face of a lion cub. On the day of Kartik Krishna Ashtami, the woman repented for her deed and performed the puja as instructed. Her sons soon returned home safely after the goddess Ahoi Ashtami Bhagwati, pleased with her dedication, bestowed upon them the blessing of long life. Mothers observe Ahoi Ashtami Vrat from this day onwards for their children’s safety and wellbeing.