Durga Ashtami is the celebration of strength, destroyer of evil, optimism and virtue dedicated to Goddess Durga (Goddess Shakti). According to the Hindu rituals, Durga Ashtami vrat is an important day dedicated to Goddess Durga. Masik Durga Ashtami is a monthly event observed on the Ashtami tithi (8th day) of the Shukla Paksha (bright lunar fortnight) in the Hindu calendar.
Masik Durga Ashtami 2021: Dates, Tithi and Puja timings
Phalgun, Shukla Ashtami – March 22
Tithi start -07:09 AM, March 21
Tithi ends – 09:00 AM, March 22
Masik Durga Ashtami March 2021: Significance
Masik Durga Ashtami is also known as Maas Durga Ashtami. According to the Hindu traditions, Goddess Durga was created by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (Tri Murti) and her soul came into being on the day of Shukla Paksha Ashtami. The Goddess represents optimism and hope in Hindu households across the country. On this day, devotees worship her and observe a day long fast. One of the most significant, Durga Ashtami, also known as Maha Ashtami falls in the month of Ashwin (September and October overlap).
Masik Durga Ashtami March 2021: Rituals
On the day of Durga Ashtami, devotees have an early start in the morning and make several offerings to the Goddess. They offer flowers, chandan (sandalwood paste) and dhoop, and worship her by chanting various Devi mantras on this day.
The day is observed by men and women alike and it is incomplete without reading the Durga Ashtami Vrat katha and Durga Chalisa. Fasting is an important ritual of Durga Ashtami, observers abstain from eating or drinking all through the day. Some devotees observe the fast by consuming milk or fruits. However, consumption of non-vegetarian food and alcohol is strictly prohibited and devotees who keep the Vrat sleep on the floor and keep away from comforts and luxuries.
Later in the evening, devotees visit Shakti temples to offer their extended prayers and offerings. After completing the puja rituals, food and santarpana (Dakshina) are given to Brahmins. In some parts of western India, there is a custom of sowing barley seeds. After the seeds are 3-5 inches tall, they are offered to the Goddess and later distributed among all family members.
It is believed that anyone who observes Durga Ashtami Vrat with full dedication will be bestowed with happiness and good fortune in their lives.