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Eighth day of Navratri, also called Ashtami is celebrated as Kanjak Puja. In India this is a very crucial part of the navratri. This festival is all about worshipping little girls to celebrate womanhood. Little girls are dressed as Devis and are also worshipped like a goddess. According to the ritual nine girls should be invited to the house and the head of the family has to wash their feet and feed them with traditional food of halwa, puri and chole, after that give them gifts. This ritual is carried outing a lot of states in our country; majorly North India and East India.
Kanjak is the festival marked to celebrate Goddess Mahakali. It is believed that when she killed a demon named, Kalasura , he started troubling the earth and the heaven, no one was able to defeat him. So, in order to stop him, all the other gods approached Goddess Mahakali, who at that time was born as Maa Durga. So she being a little girl went to kalasura and defeated him as he let his guard down thinking a little girl won’t cause any harm.
Another theory apart from this also claims that a kanya( little girl) is worshipped because she is at her purest form or the most auspicious form.
Kanjak requires recipe of three major things which is Chole, Puri and Halwa.
Ingredients: - 1 cup black channa, 1 teaspoon jeera, 1 teaspoon chillies, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, half teaspoon turmeric, salt (according to taste)
4. Navratri special chole are ready to be served.
Ingredients: - 250 grams whole wheat flour, 30 ml oil, Salt, Oil for deep frying
Take them out once they are brownish.
Ingredients: - one cup sooji, four cups water, half cup ghee, one fourth teaspoon cardamom powder, one teaspoon mashed almonds.
In the modern day, Kanjak is celebrated to ensure women empowerment and equal right for women. This shall carry on generations after generations to celebrate womanhood.