While Navratri is popular in the northern and western parts of the country, Durga Puja is most popular in the east of India, and is celebrated with great fervour among the Bengali community.
Significance of Durga Puja
The celebration of Durga Puja marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasur, or the victory of good over evil. The ten-day long festival is celebrated with a number of offerings, pujas and prayers. It ends with Vijay Dashami, marking the day the goddess reunites with Lord Shiva, her husband after defeating Mahishasur. The Durga idol immersions held on this day, symbolize her return. Women bid the goddess farewell by sharing sweets and applying vermillion or sindoor on each other.
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of India’s most vibrant festivals. Just say the name, and you can almost smell the sweet delicacies that are made during this festive season. While no Indian festival is complete without sweets, they have a special significance during the ten-day Ganesh Chaturthi festivities. It is believed that Lord Ganesha is especially fond of sweets, which is why people spend hours preparing his favourite dishes and offering these delicacies to him as prasad.
Here are ten offerings that will make your Ganesh Chaturthi spread healthy as well as delectable:
This festive day is a celebration of the beginning of spring and new ventures. House-warming pujas are done at home along with buying gold and silver as ways of expressing this emotion. Apart from that, neem plant gained significance during this festival, which is rooted in science. Gudi Padwa being the first day when sun starts to warm up Mother Earth and therefore right time to have neem. There are two key reasons having neem helps during this time – first is that excess kapha has built in our system, so neem helps to fight it and second reason why for the whole month people continue to drink neem juice is because pitta dosha accumulates with the rising temperature and if it accumulates beyond a point, we see blood & skin issues and other diseases.
Behind the game of colours, pichkaris, laughing faces and joyful moments lies a deeper meaning for this festival. Indian culture is filled with stories that give messages on how we can conduct our life to make it positive and fulfilling. Holi is one such festival where triumph of good over evil is depicted through the story of Holika. King Hiranyakashipu—a demon king, who could neither be killed by a man or an animal, grew arrogant and demanded that everybody should worship him as god. The king's son, Prahlada, disagreed and chose to remain devoted to Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu was infuriated and subjected his son to cruel punishments. Finally, Holika, the king's sister, tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. While Holika protected herself with a cloak, Prahlada remained exposed. As the fire blazed, the cloak flew from Holika's body and encased Prahlada, thus saving his life. Later, Vishnu appeared in the avatar of Narsimha, half man and half lion, and killed the king. This is why Holi begins with the Holika bonfire, which marks the end of evil. Holi marks the day where we celebrate the destruction of all evils - including our own inner demons that can sometimes harm us. Even in contemporary times, the message emanating from this bright & colourful festival holds true for us. The only thing that has changed is the demons we face in our day to day lives. Whether it is overindulging in sweets or spending too much time in front of the screen, our habits are slowly becoming an embodiment of negativity that we need to get rid of.
Incorporating plenty of colours in your diet is one of the easiest and most effective way to ensure wellbeing and keep myriad of diseases at bay. This Holi, as you celebrate with colours, resolve to bring colours to your plate to stay in the pink of health. Follow this simple rule of rainbow eating to get a wide range of nutrients through your diet. Let’s take a look at some colourful options.
Holi - the festival of colours, celebrated in March is a commemoration of the conclusion of winter and the start of spring. It’s a celebration of renewal and new beginnings, and an occasion to let the negative and the evil evaporate. The festival sees people light bonfires and smear colour on one another. The bonfire is lit the night before and has a religious facet to it. The next day is a colour fest followed by feast.
Gujiyas are crescent-shaped deep-fried goodies with a crisp exterior that gives way to a mildly sweet stuffing of all things delicious such as khoya, dried fruits, nuts and coconut. This is a delicacy prepared mainly during Holi in the Northern states of Bihar, UP, MP and Rajasthan. It is also prepared during Diwali. Versions of this sweet are prepared in the South, too, and it goes by the names of ‘somas’, ‘garijalu’ and ‘kajjikaya’. There may be minor variations in the filling and flavours but the basic recipe remains the same. A similar preparation is called kaaranji in Marathi and gughra in Gujarati.