Ahoi Ashtami is a significant festival in North India. On the day of Ahoi Ashtami, most mothers keep a day long fast for the well-being of their children. The Ahoi Ashtami fasting is observed four days after the day of Karwa Chauth.
Ahoi Ashtami Vrat Katha - Legend of a Mother and her Seven Sons
Once upon a time, there lived a kind and devoted woman in a village situated near to a dense forest. She had seven sons. One day in the month of Kartik, just few days before Diwali festivities, the woman decided to repair and decorate her house for Diwali celebrations. To renovate her house, she decided to go to the forest to fetch some soil. While digging the soil in the forest, she accidentally killed a lion cub with the spade with which she was digging the soil. She felt sad, guilty and responsible for what happened to the innocent cub.
Within a year of this incident, all the seven sons of the woman disappeared and they were considered dead by the villagers. The villagers assumed that her sons might have been killed by some wild animals of the forest. The woman was very depressed and correlated all the misfortune with the accidental death of the cub by her. One day, she narrated her woes to one the old ladies of the village. She discussed the incident how she committed the sin of killing the cub mistakenly. The old lady advised the woman that as atonement for her sin, she should offer her prayers to the Goddess Ahoi Bhagawati, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati by sketching the face of the cub. She was suggested to observe fast and perform puja for the Goddess Ahoi as She believed to be the protector of offspring of all living beings.
The woman decided to worship Goddess Ahoi on Ashtami. When the day of Ashtami came, the woman drew the face of the cub and observed fast and performed Ahoi Mata Puja. She honestly repented for the sin which she had committed. The Goddess Ahoi was pleased with her devotion and honesty and appeared before her and gave her the boon of long lives of her sons. Soon all her seven sons returned home alive. From that day onwards, it became a ritual to worship Goddess Ahoi Bhagawati every year on the day of Kartik Krishna Ashtami. The mothers pray and fast for the well being of their children on this day.