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Bhishma Ashtami 2024 Date, Time, Rituals & Significance

Bhishma Ashtami 2024 Date, Time, Rituals & Significance

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As per the traditional Hindu calendar, Bhishma Ashtami, or Bhismashtami, is celebrated on the eighth day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of the moon) of Magh Month (January – February). The date of Bhishma Ashtami in 2024 is February 16. This day honors Mahabharata’s Bhisma, also known as Bhishma Pitamah or Gangaputra Bhishma. On this day, it is believed that his essence departed.

Bhishma Pitamaha received from his father, Shantanu, the boon of dying only when he desires. It is believed that after the 18-day Mahabharat war, Bhishma chose the ashtami day of the Shukla Paksha of the Magh month to depart his body and merge with the Supreme Soul. This occurred during the prosperous Uttarayan period, the Deva daytime.

Bhishma Ashtami Date 2024

Friday, 16 February 2024

Rituals of Bhishma Ashtami:

  • People observe ‘Ekodishta Shraddha’ in honor of Bhishma Pitamah on the day of Bhishma Ashtami. In Hindu scriptures, it is stated that this shraddha can only be performed by those whose progenitors are deceased.
  • However, some communities disagree and believe that anyone can perform the’shraddha’ regardless of whether their father is alive or deceased.
  • On this day, devotees perform ‘tarpan’ on the riverbanks. This ceremony is performed in honor of their ancestors and Bhishma Pitamah.
  • This tarpan ritual is intended for the soul’s serenity of King Bhishma.
  • On this day, the Bhishma Ashtami Snan is an essential ritual. It is believed that bathing in the holy rivers is extremely meritorious
  • There is a tradition of offering steamed rice and sesame seeds to the Ganga River while bathing.
  • It is believed that by performing this act, all of a person’s sins will be cleansed and he or she will be liberated from the cycle of birth and mortality.
  • On this day, most devotees observe a strict fast after bathing. This fast is observed in honor of King Bhishma.
  • The observer of this vrat takes a sankalp and performs a ‘Arghyam’ in the evening. The devotees chant the “Bhishma Ashtami Mantra” during the Arghyam.

Significance of Bhishma Ashtami

Bhishma Pitamah was renowned for his celibacy, which he maintained throughout his entire existence. Due to his unwavering devotion and fidelity to his father, Bhishma Pitamah was granted the ability to select his own time of death. When he was injured during the great Mahabharata war, he remained in his body and waited until Magha Shukla Ashtami to encounter the supreme soul. In Hinduism, the period when Suryadev (Sun God) moves toward the south is regarded ominous, and all auspicious activities are postponed until the Sun God returns to the north. This northern movement, known as the ‘Uttarayan’ period, begins on the ashtami of the Magha month. On Bhishma Ashtami, it is considered auspicious to engage in any virtuous activity throughout the entire day.

The day of Bhishma Ashtami is also essential for removing ‘putra dosh’. On this day, childless and newlywed couples observe a strict fast in the hopes of being bestowed with a son. It is believed that couples who receive the blessings of Bhishma Pitamah on this day will be graced with a son who possesses Pitamah’s qualities.