Durga Ashtami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. It is also known as Maha Ashtami or Mahashtami and falls on the eighth day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of the lunar month of Ashwin. In 2023, it will be observed on Sunday, 22 October
Durga Ashtami is one of the most important days of the five-day-long Durga Puja festival that honors Mother Goddess Durga as the supreme power and source of life. On this day, devotees worship Durga in her various forms and offer prayers, rituals and sacrifices to please her. Some of the common rituals performed on this day are:
Holika Dahan is a Hindu festival that marks the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated on the eve of Holi, the festival of colors. Holika Dahan commemorates the legend of Prahlada, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, who was saved from his aunt Holika’s fire by his faith
According to the legend, Prahlada was the son of Hiranyakashipu, an asura king who hated Lord Vishnu and wanted everyone to worship him. Prahlada refused to obey his father and remained loyal to Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu tried various ways to kill Prahlada but failed every time. He then asked his sister Holika, who had a boon that she could not be burned by fire, to sit on a pyre with Prahlada on her lap. Holika agreed and took Prahlada with her. However, as the fire blazed, Holika was burned to ashes while Prahlada emerged unharmed. This was because Holika’s boon worked only when she entered the fire alone and not with any intention of harm
Kalaratri Puja is a Hindu ritual that is performed to worship Goddess Kalaratri, who is one of the nine forms of Goddess Durga. Goddess Kalaratri is also known as Shubhankari, as she brings auspiciousness and prosperity to her devotees.
Kalaratri Puja is usually done on the seventh day (Saptami) of Navratri, which is a nine-day festival that celebrates the different aspects of Goddess Durga. It falls in the months of September-October (Ashwin) or March-April (Chaitra). On this day, devotees offer prayers, flowers, fruits, sweets etc., to Goddess Kalaratri and seek her blessings for power, wealth and eminent status on earth.
Goddess Kalaratri is considered as the fiercest form of Goddess Durga or Parvati. Her name means “the night of death” or “the dark night”. She has a dark complexion and rides on a donkey. She has four hands and carries a sword, a trident a
Katyayani Puja is a Hindu ritual that is performed to worship Goddess Katyayani, who is one of the nine forms of Goddess Durga. Goddess Katyayani is also known as Mahishasurmardini, as she killed the demon Mahishasura who had terrorized the gods and humans.
Katyayani Puja is usually done on the sixth day (Shashthi) of Navratri, which is a nine-day festival that celebrates the different aspects of Goddess Durga. It falls in the months of September-October (Ashwin) or March-April (Chaitra). On this day, devotees offer prayers, flowers, fruits, sweets etc., to Goddess Katyayani and seek her blessings for a happy and prosperous life.
Katyayani Puja is also considered very auspicious for unmarried girls and women who wish to get married soon. It is believed that Goddess Katyayani fulfills their desires and removes any obstacles or doshas that may be causing delays
Yamuna Chhath is a Hindu festival that is celebrated on the sixth day (Shashti) of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of the lunar month of Chaitra (March-April). It is also known as Yamuna Jayanti, as it marks the birth anniversary of Goddess Yamuna, who is considered as one of the most sacred rivers in India.
Goddess Yamuna is believed to be the daughter of Lord Surya (the Sun God) and his wife Saranyu. She is also the sister of Yama (the God of Death), Vaivasvata Manu (the progenitor of mankind), and Ashvins (the twin gods of medicine). She is worshipped as the consort of Lord Krishna, who spent his childhood and youth near her banks in Mathura and Vrindavan.
Yamuna Chhath is observed with great devotion and enthusiasm by her devotees, especially in Mathura and Vrindavan, where she flows through. They take a holy dip in her waters at sunrise and sunset,
Skanda Sashti is a Hindu festival that is celebrated on the sixth day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of the lunar month of Kartika (October-November). It is dedicated to Lord Skanda, also known as Murugan, Kartikeya, Subramanya, or Kumara, who is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is the commander-in-chief of the army of gods and the god of war.
Skanda Sashti commemorates the victory of Lord Skanda over the demon Soorapadman and his brothers Tarakasura and Simhamukha. According to legend, these demons had obtained a boon from Lord Brahma that they could only be killed by a son of Lord Shiva. However, Lord Shiva was in deep meditation and did not have any children. The gods requested Goddess Parvati to persuade him to marry her. She performed severe penance and finally won his heart. They got married and conceived a child with their divine energies.
Skandamata Puja is a Hindu festival that is celebrated on the fifth day of Navratri. It is dedicated to Goddess Skandamata, who is the mother of Lord Kartikeya, also known as Skanda. She is one of the nine forms of Goddess Durga and represents motherhood and children.
Skandamata Puja is performed for attaining salvation and freedom from worldly troubles. The devotees worship Skandamata by setting up an idol of her and purifying it with Ganga Jal. They offer red flowers, especially roses, to her as she loves them. They also chant mantras, stuti and slokas to invoke her blessings. Some of the mantras are:
Naag Puja is a Hindu festival that is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of Shravan month, which usually falls in July or August. It is a day dedicated to worshipping snakes or nagas, who are considered as divine beings in Hindu mythology. Naag Puja is also known as Nag Panchami or Naga Chaturthi.
Naag Puja has a special significance as it is believed that on this day, Lord Shiva blessed the snakes with immortality and protection from his snake-destroying weapon called Sudarshana Chakra. It is also said that on this day, Lord Krishna subdued the venomous snake Kaliya and saved the people of Vrindavan from his wrath.
The following are the steps for performing Naag Puja:
Lakshmi Panchami is a Hindu festival celebrated on the fifth day of the waxing moon phase (Shukla Paksha) of Chaitra month, which usually falls in March or April. It is a day dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Lakshmi Panchami is also known as Shri Panchami or Shri Vrat.
Lakshmi Panchami has a special significance as it marks the beginning of one Kalpa, which is a cosmic cycle of creation and destruction according to Hindu cosmology. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean of milk during the churning of the sea by gods and demons. She then chose Lord Vishnu as her consort and blessed him with wealth and power.
The following are the steps for performing Lakshmi Panchami:
Varad Vinayaka Chauth is a Hindu festival celebrated on the fourth day of the waxing moon phase (Shukla Paksha) of every month. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Ganesh Chaturthi. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of wisdom, success and obstacle removal. Varad means “boon-giver” and Vinayaka means “leader of all”. Hence, Varad Vinayaka Chauth is a day to seek blessings and favours from Lord Ganesha.
Varad Vinayaka Chauth has a special significance during Navratri, a nine-day festival dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine forms. On this day, Kushmanda Puja is also performed to worship the fourth form of Durga, who created the universe with her smile. She is also associated with Lord Ganesha as she gave him his elephant head.
The legend behind Varad Vinayaka Chauth is that once there was a sage named Vakratunda who had a daughte
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