KATHMANDU,NEPAL, SEPT 9, 2013 (News24): Hundreds of small girls and their parents bustled near the ancient palace of Kathmandu on Tuesday, arranging themselves in rows ahead of a mass blessing. Every September, girls aged up to 5 gather for the ceremony of Kumari Puja, or virgin worship, believed to bestow good luck on those who attend, and a long and healthy life to the girls who participate. "This year is special because it's only once in 12 years that they have a ceremony for 1,008 girls at one time," said Sanjeev Maharjan, whose daughter was taking part in clothes and jewelry bought for the occasion. One thousand and eight is seen as an auspicious number by Hindus in Nepal. The event is attended by Buddhists as well as the nation's majority Hindus. "We believe young girls are representatives of the virgin goddess and worshiping them brings us many graces, while it also brings them good health."