In the religious faith of Hindu community, the mightiness of the Goddesses, whom we believe in, is taken as enigmatically and extraordinarily strong. Where the accounts of the female deities in the scriptures portray the quintessential element of womanhood, there are also references of great display of power in terms of encounters with evil forces. While the Goddesses have shown delicateness, utter dedication and motherly feelings in the behavioral characteristics, there were also spurts of rage and emanation of infinite warrior skills in various circumstances. The Durga Ashtami is the day of worship of one such female form – Devi Durga. The mythical character is the principal form of female celestial powers and is revered by both the names Devi (goddess) and Shakti (power/force). The day is like one of the other festivals where Hindu Puja Items are used to appease the deity, but the legend and importance related to it is divinely unique.
The Masik Vrat of Durga Ashtami:
The Masik Durga Ashtami falls on every 8th day or the Astami Tithi of Shukla Paksha (bright lunar fortnight). The main festival and the most significant of these days, known as Mahashtami is observed in the Asvin Maas of Hindu Lunar calendar. The date falls during the 9 day Shardiya Navratri festival, which is marked with great enthusiasm and devotion by the Hindu community. The monthly Puja is generally performed in simple manner with a day-long complete or partial fast. Offering Hindu Puja Items like flowers and Kumkum, accompanied with Mantra and followed by Aarati are the general religious practises on this day. The devotees pray to the divinity to bless them with the vigour and other virtues that She possesses.
The Kanya Puja Tradition:
There is also a tradition of inviting and serving special meals to nine Kanya or young maidens and honouring them with small rituals and Dakshina in form of cash and kind. The rituals consist of washing their feet as a welcoming gesture and worshipping them. The nine girls are revered as the nine forms of Shakti and are thought to bring blessings and auspiciousness in the life of the host of the ceremonial and/or devotee. They say that the Kanya Puja brings prosperity in form of wealth, self-confidence and strength in your life and also help in expiating your bad Karma.
The Mythical Sayings about the Mahashtami:
As per the story in the mythical books, Durga was a creation of the joint divine spells of the Tridev, viz. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. She was incarnated as the most powerful and a beautiful Goddess with ten weapons in her ten arms and having Lion as her Vahana. The celestial beings had been once terrified by the oppressions of a demon named Mahisasura, who was blessed by Brahma of being killed only by a female and that seemed impossible to the devil. Legends has it that when Indra was defeated by the devil, the Tridev decided to create Durga. It is this divine feminine who slayed the Mahisasura on the day of Durga Ashtami with her trident.
There are also other stories prevailing in the religious community about the origin of the festivity. Among those, there is a very famous story of how Rama worshipped Shakti, before the war waged with Ravana to rescue Sita, and how the female deity was invoked and bestowed him with immense ability to kill the evil king. Therefore make the most of this significant Tithi and perform sacred ritual with Puja Silver Items or brass items to invoke the female manifestation of Divine Might.