Ashtami Pujan this year falls on 17th October 2018 and for many, it is observed as the day for making the final prayer of Navratri fasting to goddess Durga, Ma Ambe or Bhavani (whichever the devotees endearingly refer to the mother goddess). Many devotees of Ma Durga also fast on Ashtami and observe the Udyapan or last puja of the fasting period on Navmi. This year Ashtami Tithi begins at 10:16 am on 16th October 2018 and Ashtami Tithi Ends at 12:49 pm on 17th October 2018.
This year Navmi tithi shall start from Ashtami only, i.e. from 12.49pm on 17th October 2018 and ends at 15.28pm on 18th October 2018.
Devotees of Lord Rama, who celebrate his birth or Kalyanotswam also fast and pray on Ramnavmi.
For people who follow the Kalash sthapna and visarjan practice for Devi pujan, the ceremony should start as per the auspicious muhurta period given above. Usually, all the visiting goddesses, gods, divine entities are paid obeisance and requested to leave for their divine abodes after blessing the family. Many devotees perform Kanya pujan on this day and invite 5,7,9 or 13 Kanjaks (young girls under 9 years) and worship them like the goddess herself. The kanjaks are offered prasadam specially cooked for the day and money and gifts too as per the financial capacity of the devotee. The Coconut on top of the kalash is distributed as prasadam and the water inside the kalash is sprinkled all over the house after offering the final prayer and Aarti. All the coins in the Kalash are taken out and put in the locker or wherever the family keeps money at home. The clothes and jewellery offered to Goddess are used by the females of the family.
Some of the items considered a must for Kanya / kanjak prasad are Poori, Halwa and Black gram. When the kanjaks are invited to eat at the devotees’ house then it is a full meal which may mean many more dishes in addition to the essentials. It is a day of great rejoice and devotees return to their regular life schedule and food after the final prayer on Ashtami or Navmi.
Ram Bhaktas observe fast on RamNavmi and visit Rama Temple on this day. Some also plan visits to Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama in India, during Ramnavmi period. Fasting is observed from Sunrise to Sunrise on Ramnavmi, unlike some other fasts which are considered over at sunset.