8th day of Navratri is called Maha Ashtami or Durgashtami. It is considered one of the most auspicious days of Navratri and Durga Puja festivities. This year Ashtami falls on Sunday, October 22.
On the 8th day, devotees worship Goddess Mahagauri – the 8th incarnation of Maa Durga. Mahaguari means the one extremely bright. The day is celebrated as the victory of the Goddess Shakti over the buffalo demon Mahishasura.
On this day, people perform Kanya/Kumari puja or Kanjak. Devotees invite young unmarried girls at home to offer food and worship them as Devi. They are considered divine forms of Goddess Shakti and honoured with special Navratri gifts. Devotees wash their feet, offer them red dupatta, bangles, and a few other signs of thanks, and pray for the blessings.