Hindu community is set to celebrate Mahashtami, one of the most significant days of five-day long Durga Puja, today.
Ashtami means ‘the eighth’. The day is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri, one of the nine forms of Goddess Durga.On this day, the Chamunda incarnation of Goddess Shakti (power) is venerated. It is believed that the Goddess appears on this day and annihilates Mahishasura’s associates Chanda, Munda, and the demons created from their Raktabij.
According to Drik Panchang, the day begins with ‘mahasnan’ or a grand bath. It is done so as to rid the body of impure thoughts before the pious ceremonies.
Once this is done, nine small pots are installed and the nine shaktis (powers) of Durga are invoked in them. All the nine forms of the supreme Goddess are worshipped during the Mahashtami puja.
On the day of Ashtami, little girls are dressed up as the symbol of Goddess herself and worshipped as part of the ‘Kumari Puja‘.
However, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad leaders have confirmed that there will be no ‘Kumari Puja’ in Dhaka this year to avoid excessive crowd and maintain health guidelines in the wake of the global pandemic COVID-19.
But, the Sandhi Puja will take place on the day. The Drik Panchang says that the window of the last 24 minutes of Mahashtami and the first 24 minutes of Mahanavami tithi is known as the ‘sandhi’ time (an auspicious hour), during which the puja is offered.Earlier, the Hindu community celebrated Mahasaptami on Friday. The worshippers sang hymns and offered flowers seeking the blessings of Durga on the day.
Draped in new dresses, a large number of devotees irrespective of ages thronged the puja mandaps across the country and offered prayers before the Goddess defying inclement weather.
They prayed for divine blessings for peace, prosperity and welfare of the country and its people.