Kalashtami, also Kala Ashtami, is a holy Hindu once in a month worship to Lord Bhairav. Lord Kaal Bhairav is the fierce form or incarnation of the supreme top three Hindu deities Lord Shiva and also regarded as the God of Time. Kal or Kaal means time. In Kalashtami, Kala is the Lord Bhairav and Ashtami is the day of the month. Ashtami is the 8th day of the Hindu lunar calendar, of the Krishna Paksha, the waning-decreasing phase of the moon in the fortnight. Sanskrit word ‘Asht’ means 8.
There are about 12 Kalashtamis in a Gregorian year; but the main is the Bhairav Jayanti, which falls in the Hindu calendar month of Margashirsha. Jayanti means birth or anniversary annual celebration or observance. Lord Bhairav is worshiped in India, Nepal, parts of Sri Lanka and partly Tibetan Buddhism.
The remaining Kalashtami dates in 2018 are the 29th of November and the 29th of December.
Kalashtami Is observed in remembrance, devotion and worship to Lord Bhairav. Many natives keep a fast and visit Lord Bhairav or Lord Shiva temples in the evening. Many chant Mantras. Devotees, especially Lord Shiva followers, wake up and bathe early in the morning, even before sunrise, ahead of performing Puja, prayers. The purpose is the seek forgiveness for any sins, offer prayers for ancestors, bring prosperity-happiness, for success, in removing troubles, to remove negative influence etc.
A Mantra for Lord Bhairava is—
Om Bhairavaya Namah
ॐ भैरवाय नमः