Navratri is widely celebrated twice a year by the Hindus- one is the Vasant Navratri, and another one is the Sharad Navratri. During this festival, the devotees worship the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga, and on the 8th or 9th day they perform the ritual of Ashtami/Navarami Kanjak Pooja.
On this auspicious day, prepubescent girls are invited to different homes and worshipped like a goddess and offered food, sweets, and gifts. The feet of young girls are washed and wiped before asking them to sit on a cloth as this ritual signifies that by touching their feet you are asking for blessings. Tilak is applied on their forehead and a moli (red thread) is tied on their hands usually by the eldest member of the family. Then, they are first served with the prasad of tender coconut and further, they are treated with Halwa Puri and Spicy Channa made at home. People also keep 10 rupees or more in the Kanjak plates as a token of love and thanking Maa Durga for showering them with the blessings.
Here are 5 tips for performing the ritual of Kanjak Pooja hassle free with all the love and devotion:
- Offer nutritious foods along with halwa and puri: Halwa and puri are offered at mostly all the houses at the time of Pooja. You can plan on adding some nutritious foods like roasted makhana, coconut barfi, or fruits like apple or banana so that girls will not find repetitive items at all the places. This will bring a wide smile to thei
- Serve Halwa, puri, and channa hot: People often prepare Kanjak plates beforehand and then start calling girls for the Kanjak ritual. This way they have to eat Prasad food which must be cold as prepared in advance. Instead, prepare plates only when girls are just about to arrive at your home, so that they get to eat food that is served hot and tastes good.
- Pack the Kanjak gifts one night before the Pooja day: If you are planning to give Kanjak gifts, pack them in advance so that it will be easy for girls to carry all their gifts hassle-free. Also, think of giving innovative gifts like colour bags, creative books, or something healthy like a packet of roasted nuts. These gifts will be loved and appreciated by all and make them happy and healthy!
- Distribute all the tasks among family members: If one person is doing all the work like putting tilak, tying thread, offering food, or washing their feet as a ritual this will put the burden on one single person. Rather distribute all the work among different family members so that each and every person will get the blessings from the 9 goddesses.
- Avoid last-minute preparations: Planning anything at the last minute can often confuse and lead to panic mode. To avoid this, bring all the items you need from the market 2-3 days before the Pooja day, keep all the items like tilak, thread, Pooja thali, and gifts at easy access points for all the family members.
Over to you:
Kanjak Pooja is an auspicious day to worship Maa Durga by inviting girls to your home. It is believed that they bring blessings sent by Maa Durga. Try to add the above-mentioned tips while performing Kanjak Pooja this Navratri to make this day even more special filled with blessings and love!