Masik Durga Asthami Vrat is observed on eighth day (or Ashtami Tithi) of the Shukla Paksha of every month. This month, the auspicious occasion will fall on 7 July.
On this day, people observe a fast in honour of Goddess Durga. It is believed that praying to the goddess on Masik Durga Ashtami brings peace and fortune.
According to Drikpanchang, Masik Durga Ashtami Vrat will begin from 7:48 pm on 6 July and end at 7:28 pm on 7 July.
It is believed that Goddess Durga came into existence on the Asthami Tithi of Shukla Paksha to battle the demon Mahishasura.
This month, the occasion coincides with the Asthami of Gupt Navratri, making the occasion even more auspicious. It is believed that devotees who observe a fast on this day will see all their desires bear fruit. Many believe that praying to the goddess on this day will rid their lives of all negative influences.
The most important Masik Durga Asthami of the year is the one that falls during the Shardiya Navratri. Also called Maha Asthami, the day falls in the month of Ashwin.
On Masik Durga Asthami, people chant the Durga Chalisa and Durga Ashtami Vrat Katha to worship the goddess.
People wake up early and offer the goddess flowers, sandalwood and incense. Many also visit temples to perform a puja in honour of Goddess Durga.
Devotees do not consume non-vegetarian food or alcohol on Durga Asthami Vrat. Many people observe a strict fast and subsist on fruits and water throughout the day, while some refrain from eating anything the entire day.
Many devotees engage in charitable activities and give alms and food to Brahmins. Another ritual followed in some parts of the country is the sowing of barely seeds. Once the seeds grow into plants about three to five feet tall, they are cut and offered to the goddess.