Shashthi or Shashti (Sanskrit: षष्ठी, Ṣaṣṭhī, literally “sixth”) is a Hindu folk goddess, venerated as the benefactor and protector of children (especially, as the giver of male child).
In Orissa, the goddess is worshipped in the lying-in room on the sixth day after childbirth, on the 21st day after childbirth and on every subsequent birthday of the child until he or she reaches the age of sixteen. Shashthi is also prescribed to be worshipped the sixth day of each of the two lunar fortnights occurring each month; as part of the Brata rites, the worship occurring on the bright fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada is the most important of these and holds the same status in Orissa. By these rites, it is believed a childless woman may gain offspring, while a mother may secure the longevity and welfare of her child by the grace of the goddess.
At Jagannath Temple, Puri there is Sasthi Mata statue inside Bhubneswari Temple. Goddess Sasthi is being wors
hiped for the long life of children on their birth day. Sasthi Mata having three hundred and a child sleeps on her left lap with self contentment.
Family in Odisha pray Maa Sasthi for the betterment and longevity for children. Small statue of six sisters and one brother are made by women of Odia family. Six type flowers, Six tree branches, six fruits, six types of Saags ( Vegetable leaves) are used in this puja. No need of Brahman or any type mantra is recited for the Puja of Sasthi. Different types of rice cake, rice, curry and saag are made for puja prasad. After puja women of the family hit small kids softly by the six branches whose are iconic of Godess Sasthi Mata.
Six flowers are Tagara, Mandara, Aprajita, Rangani, Kaniara, Dudura.
Six Vegetables Leaves are Khada, Koshala, Kanasiri, Bana Chakunda, Purunimundi, Saru
Six Tree Branches are Saru, Jui, Dhana, Barakoli, Apamaranga Bajaramuli
Six fruits are Dudura, Kaniari, Chaulia, Nadia Gotoma, Janhi, Kakudifolk festival bratta festival