Ganesh Chaturthi – religious festivities

Tinkling of bells and chants of ‘Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti, Darshan majhe man kamana purati, Jaidev Jaidev’ heralds the arrival of the elephant god, Lord Ganesh, into the homes of his devotees.

The melodic chanting of ‘Om Ganeshaya Namaha’ marks the beginning of any ritual in the Hindu religion. Lord Ganesh is the epitome of good luck who removes all the obstacles lying in the path of his devotees. He brings prosperity to his worshippers and keeps natural calamities at bay.  He is the lord of all that is auspicious and successful and His blessings are invoked before starting anything new.  He and the little mouse that is always with Him as His vahan (vehicle) are ideal examples of a balanced life, of how two opposites can co-exist peacefully and harmoniously.

Ganesh festival lasts for nearly a month in the city of Pune with a lot of cultural programmes organised by eminent artists, musicians and dancers. It is a multi-cultural platform for artistes to offer their art and invoke blessings at the feet of the Lord. As this is done on a fairly large scale, a number of Ganesh associations have been formed not only in Pune but throughout the state of Maharashtra.

In Hyderabad under the Nizam’s rule, many Maharashtrians held high administrative positions. The Ganesh festival celebrated by them as a social ceremony thus sprouted roots in Andhra Pradesh. And today, this tradition continues. The unique feature of this festival in Hyderabad is that the artists making the idols of Ganesh compete with each other to make magnificent, tall and elegant idols. If in Khairatabad (in Hyderabad city) at the time of Ganesh festival, look out for the largest Ganesh idol. It’s difficult to miss anyway as sometimes it scales more than 30 feet in height!

Savour these dishes this year and make it an absolute treat on Ganesh Chaturthi.

Rice Bhakri

Jain Osaman 

Malai Peda

 

 

 

Konkan cuisine – weddings and family get togethers

In the Konkan region, weddings spell hope, joy and permanence of relationships. Agarbattis and silver lamps are all around the dining area and with devotional chants the meal begins. The meal is usually vegetarian and is served after the wedding ceremony is over. It is a common custom to draw a colourful pattern rangoli with white flowers around the taat (plate). The wedding feast is generally served in a taator on a banana leaf in a specific order.
There are chutneys, salads, dry vegetables, gravies, plain rice, puris, and a sweet dish like jalebi, creamy basundi or saffron flavoured shrikhand. Mattha or coriander-leaf-flavoured-salted-buttermilk complements the meal which ends with a sweet paan called beeda.
Pregnancy
The arrival of a baby is awaited with bated breath and lot of expectations. The Gods’ blessings are invoked for the health and safety of both the mother and child through almost the entire period of pregnancy. In the seventh month of the first pregnancy, a function called oti bharane is held when several married ladies gather together to bless the mother-to-be with coconut, whose auspiciousness is well known.
Child birth
On the 6th day after the birth of a child, khichdi is made of moong dal and rice along with jaggery and cashew nuts. It is believed that on this day God comes to bless the newborn. Small children are invited and served with kheer and khichdi.
On the 12th day, the naming ceremony of the newborn – the barsa – is celebrated with a lot of joy and festivities. Some people have a havan followed with a festive meal followed by the cradle ceremony, when the newborn is put into a decorated cradle and given a name. The cradle ceremony is held in every family.
Death
On the 12th day after death, a meal is served to the Brahmins when relatives are also invited to partake in it. It is believed that on this day the departed soul moves away from the material world into the heavenly folds. There are some specific dishes, which are made only on this occasion, and otherwise considered a taboo.