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Durga Ashtami and Durga Navami 2023 : Know Its Significance and History

By April 10, 2022November 20th, 2023No Comments
Maa Durga

India will celebrate its most popular festivals- Durga Ashtami and Maha Navmi puja. Usually, the celebration of Maha Navami puja is on the next day of Durga Ashtami. However, this year, the two festivals are happening on the same day. Regardless, Ashtami and Navmi mean the eighth and the ninth day of Sharad Navratri, dedicated to Goddess Durga.
This year, Ashtami is on 22nd October 2023, and Navami is on 23rd October 2023. Here are the start and end Tithi for Ashtami and Navami:
Ashtami Tithi starts – October 21, 2023, at 09:35 PM
Ashtami Tithi ends – October 22, 2023, at 07:58 PM
Navami Tithi starts – October 22, 2023, at 07:58 PM
Navami Tithi ends – October 23, 2023, at 05:44 PMDurga Ashtami Celebrate


According to Hindu Mythology, on the Maha Navami, Goddess Durga defeated the Buffalo demon, Mahishasur. On Mahanavami, Goddess Durga made the final attack on the Buffalo demon and succeeded in killing him the following day, as Vijayadashmi or Dussehra. That is why on this day, Goddess Durga is Mahisasuramardini, which translates into ‘the slayer of Mahishasur’. You can read about the story and its feminist interpretation here. Hence, the day is not only the worship of Goddess Durga but the win of good over evil. Therefore, people who celebrate this festival, especially the Durga Ashtami, Maha Navmi and Vijayadashami, do not need to observe any other celebration

The Celebration

Maha Navami puja holds considerable significance. The worship on this day equals the dedication on all nine days of Sharad Navratri. Every place has a distinct and unique way to honour the festival, but what remains standard is the worship of Goddess Durga. In Northern India, the festival of Maha Navmi is by performing Kanya Puja. Nine girls are invited over in this ritual, given a place of a Devi and fed with a holy feast. The idea behind this is that the nine girls represent the nine faces of Goddess Durga. Before getting further into our discussion of the Durga Puja celebrations, let’s first know what Kanya Puja is.

Kanya Puja:

As we know, Kanya Puja is a celebration to worship nine girls who are representative of the nine Avatars of Maa Durga. This celebratory custom is kept in the Northern parts of India. Firstly, an aarti is done in this tradition, and the girls are worshipped. After this, an offering of water is made, then comes washing their feet, and after that, they are made to sit on a seat. Following this, elaborate offerings of delicious food items are made, which are the Prasad, and after they eat a little bit of everything, the rest of it is offered to the people present. In some instances, money is provided as Dakshina to the nine girls. In the end, people touch the feet of the girls, seek their blessings and grace, and then send them off respectively.

Ayudh Puja:

Moreover, along with the nine girls, people worship a boy who embodies Lord Bhairav. She is the brother of Goddess Durga, who promises to protect her as per a tale. This festival marks Ayudh Puja or Shastra Puja for Goddess Saraswati in South India. Hence, all the tools of knowledge and wisdom are glorified, like books, musical instruments and automobiles. Earlier, this day is auspicious to worship weapons.
In Eastern India, this festival is the third day of Durga Puja. The celebration starts with Mahasnan (holy bath), followed by Shodashopachar Puja. You can read about the customs here. Maha Navami in western India by establishing a Garbo, a holy pot that symbolises the womb. Garbo is lit with diyas, which are symbolic of the soul. Garba is a prevalent dance form in this region commemorating Goddess Durga.

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Ananya Singh

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