Bhishma Ashtami 2024: Date, Significance and Traditions

Bhishma Ashtami is a festival dedicated to the death anniversary of Bhishma Pitamah, a major character from the epic Mahabharata. In this article, we explore the celebration date, meaning, importance and the story of behind this festival.

Bhishma Ashtami 2024 Date and Time

In 2024 Bhishma Ashtami will be celebrated on Friday, February 16. The Ashtami tithi begins at 8:54 AM on February 16 and ends at 8:15 AM on February 17. It falls in the month of Magha on the 8th day (Ashtami) of the bright fortnight in the lunar cycle. 

Significance of Bhishma Ashtami 

This day is dedicated to the Bhishma Pitamah and honours his sacrifice, wisdom and his commitment to Dharma. On this day, devotees remember and worship him to seek his blessings and wisdom.

It is a celebration of Bhishma’s unwavering commitment to do what is right, his selfless service to the Kuru family and his important role that shaped the Mahabharata. Followers aim to learn from his life and try to adopt his value of duty, sacrifice and devotion.

The Story Behind Bhishma Ashtami

Bhishma also known as Pitamaha, Gangaputra and Devavrata, was the grand uncle of both the Pandavas and Kauravas. He swore an oath to be celibate for life to make sure that the Kuru line would have a king for taking over the throne. Bhishma was considered to be a great warrior but during the battle of Kurukshetra he decided to stay neutral at first.

He joined the battle eventually due to his duty and to protect dharma. Bhishma was blessed by his father, king Shantanu that allowed him to choose the day of his death. Even with the power of invincibility he fought with control. During the battle he was pierced by arrows from Arjuna. As he lay on the bed arrows coming out of his back he chose Magha Shukla Ashtami as the day of his death.

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The Rituals and Traditions of Bhishma Ashtami

  • Fasting: On this day, devotees fast as a sign of respect and to purify their bodies and minds. Some people choose to eat vegetables, milk or certain sattvic foods during fasts as well.
  • Prayers and pujas: People often pray to Bhishma in temples and their own homes. Worshippers give him flowers, incense and special food items as offerings to ask for his blessings and to show their appreciation for the pure life he lived.
  • Reading scriptures: It’s also common for some followers to read or recite verses from the Mahabharata. Specifically the ones that talk about Bhishma Pitamah’s lessons and sacrifices.
  • Charity and donation: On this day, devotees help the less fortunate with money or food. 
  • Visiting temples: Devotees often visit temples dedicated to him and worship him there to seek his blessings.

As we approach Bhishma Ashtami in 2024, let’s hope to be blessed with his wisdom and honour and understand his devotion, sacrifice and timeless lessons and try to incorporate them in our lives. 

Team Astro Kundli wishes you a happy Bhishma Ashtami and may this day encourage you to face life’s challenges with honesty and unwavering faith!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the significance of Bhishma Ashtami?

On this day devotees honour the sacrifice, wisdom and commitment to dharma of Bhishma Pitamah and seek his blessings and receive his wisdom and values.

Which day is Bhishma?

In 2024, Bhishma Ashtami will be celebrated on Friday, February 16. 

What is the death anniversary of Bhishma?

Bhishma Ashtami is celebrated as the death anniversary of Bhishma Pitamah. The date and time of this day is celebrated every year in the month of Magha but can fall on different dates due to the calculation as per the Hindu Lunar calendar.

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