Saturday, October 20, 2012

Maha Ashtami -- 10/22/2012

Hello everyone! 

How are the fasts coming along? This is the first time I've fasted and it's going pretty well. I was talking to my mother-in-law the other day and she told me that Ashtami is on Monday. It really got me confused because here I am thinking Ashtami was celebrated on the eighth day of the Hindu lunar calendar. If you count the dates, Navratri began on October 16; that would make Monday the seventh day. Mum said she consulted the pandit (priest) and he said that Ashtami was on the 22nd this year. I searched online and here's why:

Navratri Day 1 – October 16, 2012 – Ghatsthapana
Navratri Day 2 – October 17, 2012 – Chandra Darshan
Navratri Day 3 – October 18, 2012 – Sindoor Tritiya
Navratri Day 4 – October 18, 2012 – Varad Vinayak Chaturthi and Lalit Panchami
Navratri Day 5 – October 19, 2012 – Upang Lalita Vrat
Navratri Day 6 – October 20, 2012 – Saraswati Awahan in some regions
Navratri Day 7 – October 21, 2012 – Saraswathi Puja - Maha Lakshmi Puja
Navratri Day 8 – October 22, 2012 – Saraswathi Puja ends – Mahashtami
Navratri Day 9 – October 23, 2012 – Saraswati Visarjan - Mahanavami

October 24, 2012 - The tenth day is celebrated as Dussehra or Vijaya Dashami.
Note - Navratri day 3 and 4 are marked on same date in calendars followed in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Note - Navratri day 5 and 6 are marked on same date in calendars followed in North India and other regions. (This clubbing of dates is due to two tithis (days) falling on the same date as per Gregorian calendar)
(Source: Hindu Blog)

So here's why Navratri has been cut short by a day. 
Mum said we should go ahead and celebrate Ashtami tomorrow because it would be Monday in India anyway. I don't know if that's the right way to go about it but it's easier for me because Ankit will be home. Some cultures call it Maha Ashtami and some call it Durga Ashtami. On Ashtami, little girls under the age of 13 are worshiped as Goddess Durga. This ritual can be performed on the eighth or ninth day (Ashtami or Navmi). Their feet are to be washed, they are given a red dupatta (scarf), a red thread is tied on their wrist, a red tikka (dot) is put on the forehead, they are to be fed halva, puri and kaaley chaney (black chickpeas) and given a dakshina (an offering, usually of money or gifts). After everything, blessings are to be taken from the child by having her tap on our head. This ritual is called "Kanjake" (in North India) or "Kanya Puja".  I'll explain what halva, puri and kaaley chaney are in my next post.

Until tomorrow then :)
Happy Maha Ashtami

P.S. What do you think of the make-over of the blog?

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