Kanya Bhojan and Pujan
The name ‘Kanya Pujan’ describes the young and virgin girls those who are in their pre-puberty age are worshiped and offered food to eatas it given to goddess Durga considering as a part of a ritual in navratri. The unmarried young girls before reaching to puberty are deemed as Goddess Durga with divine forces in their body. The young girl child is esteemed as a symbol of Goddess Shakti because during navratri Goddess Chandi killed the powerful demon ‘Mahisasur’. Goddess Chandi declared that she is apparent in all the females in this universe. Thus, she is worshiped to remind people about the fact that Goddess Durga is omnipresent in all beings. Kanya Pujan is a very essential ritual of Navratri festival. People believe Navratri pooja to be incomplete without performing this ritual at the eighth or ninth day of Navratri.
Rules and Procedure of Kanya Pujan
In India,‘Kanya’, a virgin girlis believed to be the most encouraging, most clear minded and clean soul individual.Thus for Kanya pujan, the young girls also called kanjaks are invited from neighbors at home to perform the ritual. At least 5 or 7 or 11 girls are invited to be worshiped as Durga on Ashtami or Navmi in Navratri. The family members make kanyas sit on the mat or aasan. Than the feet of kanjaks are washed with milk and water and the vermillion tilak is applied on their forehead. The holy thread is also tied on the wrist of their right hand. Now, as a part of this tradition kanjaks are offered delicious Indian food by the lady of the family like Poori, Halwa and Channa. They are also given gift and money. At last, all family members touch the feet of the kanyas to get their blessings.
Mata Vaishno Devi katha explains that this rituals is very important in Indian navratri festival, after Kanya Bhojan all devotees finish their fast.
Hindu devotees also celebrate Kanya Poojan custom after three visits of Mata Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu. In some states of India, devotees celebrate Ratri Jagran, and in whole night they worshipes goddess Durga with family members and relatives.