Durga Ashtami is one of the major Hindu cultural celebrations, especially in West Bengal. The image of the goddess Durga with ten hands on top of a lion has come to be a symbol of female power. This day falls on the 8th day of the Navratri festival, when people decorate homes, offices, and buildings with idols of the deity and make offerings and prayers.
The people of India celebrate Durga Ashtami to receive blessings, money, success, and to rid of illnesses. Most local holidays are associated with the acquisition of wealth in some way. People often turn to higher powers prior to making a purchase, investment, or entering a business venture, believing that if done on a special day, they will be rewarded with prosperity. This festival takes place in the month of Ashvin, a month celebrated in India and the surrounding countries.
Legend has it that Durga defeated the monstrous Mahishasura with the help of a trident, which could only be accomplished with the blessing of Brahma.
- 10 hands in the image of Durga represent the numerous shakti (forces) she possesses.
- It is believed that the goddess descends from heaven each year and visits the home of her parents.
- To create idols, clay is collected from the banks of the Ganges River.
- Fasting is considered auspicious on this day, but many people also cook delicacies and set abundant tables, which is not prohibited and is thought to be at the discretion of the individual.
How to take part
If in India, be sure to pay a visit to a Shiva temple to feel the energy of the day and pledge to remain on the path of goodness. Learn and share the legends surrounding Durga, either with loved ones or on social media. During the early hours of the day, offer sandalwood or flowers to the idols.
When is Durga Ashtami celebrated in 2023?