Durgashtami is celebrated on Ashtami or the eighth day of Navratri festival and is one of the important days of Durga Pooja. Read on to learn about the significance of Durgashtami and story behind its celebration.
Durgashtami is celebrated with full enjoyment and you will see a unique energy and excitement among Hindus for this special day. Durga Pooja is one of the most important festivals of Hindus and India. In addition to religious reasons, Durga Pooja
is also an occasion for women to reunite, rejoice and get refreshed.
The ritual and worshipping of Goddess Durga
in different forms starts from the first day of Navratri
, but the last four days – Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami are the most important ones. Many people fast on the auspicious day, Ashtami and it is also called Mahashtami.
Importance of Durgashtami
Let us take a look at the significance of Durgashtami.
Victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura
Mahashtami is celebrated as a memory of Goddess Durga becoming victorious over the demon Mahishasura. Devotees worship Goddess Durga to help them overcome problems in life and seek strength to accomplish all their goals and objectives in life leading a fearless and true life.
Worshipping Maha Gauri
The eighth incarnation of Goddess Durga is Maha Gauri and is worshipped on Ashtami. The Goddess protects the welfare of all her devotees and help all their issues solved. It is believed that worshipping Goddess Maha Gauri gives effectual results. Goddess rides a lion and is crowned with moon and has four arms. Goddess Durga has three eyes and is the destroyer of evil.
On this eighth day of Durga Pooja, people meditate on the Shakti energy, the Durga energy. Devotees pray for themselves and their dear ones to let Maa Durga’s grace and presence fill everyone’s life with bliss and joy. In some places people light earthen lamps in a row all over the night.
People invite very young girls to their homes and treat them as representative of Goddess Durga by offering them sweets, clothing and many more things depending on their wishes. This is popularly known as Kanya Poojan and is done on Mahashtami and Mahanavami.
Worshipping Yoginis and Astanayikas
64 Yoginis and Ashtanayikas, known as eight consorts, are also worshipped. The eight consorts or eight shaktis of Goddess Durga are interpreted differently in different religions. These eight shaktis are Brahmani, Maheshwari, Kameshwari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasinghi, Indrani and Chamunda.
During the freedom movement, Durga Pooja became the icon of Indian Independence movement because Hindu reformists resembled Goddess Durga with India and called Bharat Mata. Gradual increase in the importance of Durga Pooja was seen during that time.
Celebration of Durgashtami
Here is how Durgashtami is celebrated across India.
- Many devotees, both men and women observe fast on the day. Special Pooja is organized in Shakti temples on this day and is attended by many devotees.
- Weapons of Goddess Durga are worshipped and it is also called Astra Pooja.
- It is believed that Goddess Kaali appeared from the forehead of Durga to kill demons Chanda, Munda and Rakthabija.
- Many deities and attendants of Goddess Durga are worshipped on this day.
- The last ritual of this day is Sandhi Pooja and this overlaps into the next day, Mahanavmi.
People in western India, especially in Gujarat and Maharashtra, spend the nine nights of Navratri singing, dancing and merry making. Garba
, a graceful form of dancing, is performed during these nights in Gujarat and in Maharashtra, Dandiya is played. Men and women dress up traditionally and dance during midnight around a Kalash, which is worshipped before the dance starts. The dandiyas have tiny bells or ghunghrus tied at its ends and they make a special rhythmic sound while the dance goes one.
Along with some traditional ways of celebrating Durgashtami, people like to visit different places of different kinds of decoration and enjoy the evening worshipping idols of Goddess decorated in various ways.When is Durgashtami celebrated? How to fast on Durgashtami? What are the ways to do Durgashtami Pooja? Discuss here.