Thursday 21 November 2013

Laxmi Puja.

The next big ritual followed during Diwali is that of Laxmi Puja.
This is one ritual which is the most integral part of Diwali and the most important too..for obvious reasons.
Laxmi Puja is a ritual which worships Godess Laxmi - The Godess of Wealth.
The preparation for this ritual starts way before Diwali.
It is believed that on the day of Laxmi Puja, Godess Laxmi enters only those premises that are clean and well lit. And that is why, more than Diwali shopping, Indian women are keen about Diwali Safai or Diwali Cleaning.
There is also a tradition of playing cards on this day. Legend has it that Godess Parvati had played a game of dice with Lord Shiva, her husband on this auspicious day. She had stated that anyone who gambles on this day will prosper in the upcoming year.

My Laxmi Puja Set Up.

Apart from the Laxmi Puja set up, I also draw little footprints on the entrance of my house symbolizing Godess Laxmi entering my house. :)

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Narak Chaturdashi.

Hello everyone. I am back..sooner than I had expected.
Just like I had promised in the last post, I am here to write about a ritual that immediately follows the Abhyang Snan.
So where was I...???
You are done with your Pahili Aanghol, and you walk out of the bath.
The first thing that you are supposed to after that, is walk out of your house..but not empty handed. You need to carry a green fruit called kartula/kaareta with you and place it on the ground outside your main door. You then place your right leg on the fruit and crush it with your body weight. The fruit breaks spilling out its seeds. Then you bend down and taste the inside of the fruit with your finger. tastes horrible!
It's so damn bitter..!

Crushed Kartula/Kaareta
This ritual is done on the day of Narak Chaturdashi which is on the same day of the Pahili Aanghol.
And why do we do it?
Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated to commemorate the killing of an Asura/Demon called Narakasur by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Lord Krishna beheaded him with his Sudarshan Chakra on the day of Narak Chaturdashi.
The bitter fruit is symbolic of Narakasur's head, and crushing it implies the victory of Good Over Evil.
But why do we have to taste the bitter fruit?
Mom says that Diwali is a festival of extravagance. Everything about this festival is large and sweet.The bitter fruit is a reality check..! It reminds you that life is not only about happiness and sweetness. And since we relish a lot of sweets during Diwali, we should start it with a little bitterness to balance it off.

As a kid, I always skipped the step of tasting the fruit. The fruit tasted yuck, and I always lied to Mom that I completed the ritual. How smart was I..!;)
But not anymore..age makes you wiser I guess! Or so I think! :)

Hope you enjoyed reading about this ritual as much I did writing about it.

Friday 8 November 2013

Abhyang Snan.

Phew..we are officially done with Diwali this year..but the spirit of Diwali simply refuses to die off.
I had such a happy and hectic Diwali...and I am glad with the way it turned out.
Lots of puja, lots of food, lots of dressing up and hosting of lots of friends and relatives.
I haven't had a single dull moment and this is exactly why I have been off the social media for the past few days. I did try catching up with a number of Diwali posts by my fav bloggers...but that was it.
So now that the festivities have finally settled down I decided to pen this post. No points for guessing that it is about Diwali.
I have decided to write about the little rituals associated with the festival of lights.
You already know, what I did on Dhanteras. So moving forward, lets discuss about Pahili Aanghol/Abhyang Snan or the First Ceremonial Bath of Diwali.
It is this ritual which gives you a feeling that the king of festivals has finally arrived and you have to make the most of it.
Like I always say, the rituals that I write about on So-Saree are in accordance to how my mom does them and I follow suit. There might be many other ways of doing the same ritual thanks to India's muti-cultural nature.

As a kid Pahili Aanghol attached special significance to us and I have special memories attached to it.
On the morning of Diwali, we woke up to the sound of fire crackers..!
Garlands of fresh flowers and artistic rangolis adorned the entrance of our house. Mom looked splendid in her traditional saree complemented with a nath. Immediately after we brushed our teeth, Mom made us sit on a low wooden seating also called as Paat which had a Rangoli drawn around it. We sat on it one by one, all excited waiting for Mom to begin the Pahili Aanghol ritual.
After seating us, Mom used to apply fragrant utana/ubtan which is a powdered herbal extract and includes sandalwood, fenugreek, turmeric.etc mixed with coconut milk.
After the ubtan was applied, she did a small aarti around us and we were sent to take a bath. Everything that we used in the bath that day would be new and special. Right from our clothes, towels, soap and shampoo.
Now that I am all grown up and married (yes..I need to keep reminding myself about it), I try to follow all these rituals as much as I can because I feel, that is the best way we can keep our traditions alive. The only alteration that I do here is that I mix the ubtan mix with coconut oil instead of coconut milk. Yeah..I know I m a bit lazy..but that's fine..!
Hope you enjoyed reading about this ritual as much as I enjoyed writing about it.
The next post will be on a ritual that immediately follows the Pahili Aanghol and I bet you will love it equally. Till then ..keep reading and stay in touch.

Friday 1 November 2013

Happy Dhanteras.

It is Dhanteras today or should I say Dhanatrayodashi.
Dhanteras is derived from 'Dhan' meaning 'Wealth' and 'Teras' meaning '13' as Dhanteras is the 13th day as per Hindu calender.
Diwali officially kick starts today..though in my head Diwali has been on since the past fortnight..!;)
On this day Dhan or Wealth is worshipped, and it is considered auspicious to buy precious metals like gold or silver on this day.
While I didn't indulge in any such shopping, what I did was, I offered a Naivedhya of Dhaniya/Corriander Seeds and Jaggery to God praying for a Happy and Prosperous Year ahead.

Dhaniya + Jaggery..I guess it has something to do with Dhan and Dhaniya..! God Knows..!

If you haven't guessed it already the inspiration behind following this ritual is my Mom.
And why we do it? I have no idea absolutely..!
But Mom's always right..and we shouldn't argue on that! Right?
Happy Dhanteras Everyone ..and may you have a very Happy and Safe Diwali.


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