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The Hindu festival of Durga Ashtami, also known as Maha Ashtami, is celebrated o the eighth day of the auspicious nine-day period of Navratri. It commemorates for the time when Goddess Durga stepped into the state of extreme power and strength required to conquer and kill Mahishasura, the demon buffalo.
Time of Celebration
On seeing Goddess Durga, Mahishasura got mesmerized with her beauty and proposed her to get married with him. Durga accepted the offer putting forth a condition that she would get married to him, only if he can defeat her in a battle. Arrogant about his superiority over female power, he accepted it. When he got into the fight, it got prolonged for seven days. On the eighth day, i.e. on the day of Durga Ashtami, Durga gained a boost in her strength and power, and on the ninth day, she eventually beheaded the demon.
Rituals and Celebrations
2. One popular way of conferring devotion to Goddess is by observing fast. Both men and women observe it. It is one of those most important days in the period of Navratri on which many people willingly choose to abide by fast, as doing so derives immense blessings of Goddess. Goddess Durga also confer that person with strength, courage, and determination enough to overcome and conquer all evils, fears, and negativities present within and around.
3. One of the major highlights of the celebrations as made on this day is the display show of martial arts, which also have use of arms and weapons. On the aspect of this context, the day is also referred as ‘Virashtami’, ‘Astra Puja’, and ‘Ayudha Puja’. This ritual is associated with the legend that it is on this day the Arjuna, the third of the five Pandavas, brought out his Ayudha from Shami tree.
4. On this day, married women of the household offer things which are typically associated with married women such as clothes, jewellery, bangles, kajal, bindi, etc. to Goddess Durga.
5. The entire family participates in the worship ceremony of Durga. In the end, Bhog is offered to Goddess.6. The festive celebration of Durga Ashtami concludes with Sandhi Puja, which extends beyond to the next day celebrations of Mahanavami.
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