Little girls are regarded as a form of Durga Devi (Devi ka roop) as they are supposed to be pure and innocent. Little boys are regarded as the 'roop of langooras', supposed to be the servers of the Devi in her celestial abode. They are invited for lunch on Ashtami and can turn up in any number, but must be under twelve years of age. The prasad that is served as lunch consists of puri black chana, a potato curry and a sweet, like halwa, is distributed to everyone as prasad. Some people also serve a more elaborate lunch consisting of puri, potatoes, ladies' fingers, sweet gourd, colocasia (arvi) and radish - grated radish mixed with a little salt and chili powder is greatly relished. Sweet curd and sliced ginger, marinated with lime, can also be served. No item should contain onion or garlic. In the plate of every girl, two small rolls of mehndi (moistened henna made into two small rolls) and a string of kalava and a paan are placed along with some cash according to one's desire. Sometimes garments or even a length of material (cloth) are given to both the girls and the boys. Some prefer giving a utensil, or the plate, which the child has used for eating. In fact, anything can be given in the name of Durga Ma. In inviting the children one symbolically invites the goddess herself. Generally, only the girls are invited and the boys feel very sorry for themselves and tend to quarrel with their sisters.
Before serving the food to the little ones, the elders performing the puja wash the little one's feet, and welcome them by serving with their own hands. When the children finish eating, the elders touch their feet and bid them farewell.
Those who worship the Mother Goddess as their chief deity, sometimes go in for what is known as a bhandara. This means that a lot of little girls and boys are invited (forty or even hundred in number) and a big lunch is arranged, with catering done by a halwai. Something substantial is given to the kanyas (little girls) and to the langooras. The gifts can be given in the form of jewellery as well. These bhandaras are very common in North India. And can even be arranged in temples where catering facilities are available.