Navratras are coming to an end with the Ashtami Puja. Prasad and bhog for the Navratras are done on Ashtami and Navami as per the choice of an individual.
Maha Ashtami Puja time – 2017
Ashtami Tithi Begins = 07:08PM on 27/Sep/2017
Ashtami Tithi Ends = 09.36PM on 28/Sep/2017
On the eighth day of Navratri, Goddess Durga is worshipped in the form of ‘Mahagauri’.
Kanya or Kanjak Puja is done on Ashtami, the eight days of Navratras. It is also referred to as the Kumari Puja. Prasad or bhog is prepared and offered to Goddess Durga. Poori, dry Kala chana (black gram) and Suji Halwa form an important part of the bhog. After taking a bath in the morning, lady of the house prepares the prasad. The tradition is to make the prasad in pure desi ghee. Onion and garlic are not used in the prasad.
After Durga Aarti and puja, Prasad is distributed to Kanjaks. If possible, you can also call a few Brahmins and offer them the prasad. Devotees who have been fasting during Navratras open their fast with the prasad.
Young girls, referred as Kanjaks, are called into the houses for puja. Girls are called in odd numbers – Seven or Nine. You can also call as many as you want to keep the number in odds. There’s also a tradition of including one small boy in the puja. The rituals begin with welcoming these girls by washing their feet and then offering them a place to sit. Tilak with Roli (red kumkum) is done and Mauli (the red sacred thread) is tied on their wrists. They are then offered the prasad and requested to eat at least some of it. The girls are also offered some money and gifts. Bangles, red dupattas, pens, hair clips, tiffin boxes, fancy mugs, pencil box or pouches are always a hit with children. The purpose is to make the girls happy.
If for some reason, you are not able to prepare the whole prasad, you can also choose to offer fruits and sweets the children.
May Goddess Durga bless us all!
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