Sunday, 15 October 2017

Deepawali - Festival of lights

One of the big festivals celebrated across India is Deepawali/Diwali. Diwali is celebrated on Chathurdhasi thidhi on the tamil month of Iyppasi. The crackers we fire on this day is the unique way of celebrating this festival which attracts kids of all ages.

The day when Lord Krishna killed Narakaasura is celebrated as Diwali. In North India people lit lamps at their homes on this day as a matter of celebration. South Indians take oil bath in early morning known as Ganga Snanam which is most important and mandatory on the day of Diwali. Elders used to prepare the oil that is used for the Snanam on this day. Early in the morning gingely oil is poured in a small kadaai and then few rice flakes, fenugreek seeds & 5 to 6 pieces of Pepper will be added to the oil. The oil is then heated mildly and then flame is switched off. This oil is used to take oil bath early in the morning usually at 4 AM in the morning. Elders at home used to make the kids and others sit in a manai palagai and apply kumkum and a handful of oil on their head by singing gowri kalyanam. After a while we take bath using luke warm water. New dresses will be kept ready the previous day itself in the pooja room. Elders used to offer that to the family members. We wear the new dress and seek the blessings of god and elders at home on this auspicious day. My mother in law insists upon not cleaning the vessel in which is the oil is heated on the day of Diwali.

Sometimes Amavasai thithi starts in the same day of Diwali festival. Even then the early morning ganga snanam is mandatory.

"Jale Ganga & Tahile lakshmi" is a saying which means Goddess Ganga hails in water and Goddess Lakshmi in Oil. Both water and oil are important for this festival worshiping goddesses.

Only on this day, the neivedyam including the oil, shikakai, crackers, New dress and all Sweets & Savories are kept in front of god and the elder member of family perform the neivedyam. My mom used to crack a Saram kept in the neivedyam first before anyone start early in the morning.

Diwali legiyam or Diwali Marundhu is one of the most important items we used to prepare for Diwali. Immediately after taking bath, my mom used to offer this in empty stomach. I like this legiyam very much while my sister don't. Its my all time favorite. Though this legiyam is prepared traditionally using 21 varieties of medicial products, we have a simple version of preparation in my sister's website.

After having the legiyam, we start hunting the Bajji, Vadai and other sweets prepared for that day.

Moms starts preparing sweets and savories just before a week ahead of Diwali. The bakshanams are distributed to neighbors and relatives to share the joy of celebration. When my Mom is young she used to prepare lot of snacks which primarily includes 7 cup cake, Payatham urundai, Mixture, Mullu Murukku, Somasi, Ukkarai and the Diwali Marundhu. You will find a good variety of Diwali recipes in Jeyashris Kitchen.

We start distributing the snacks bit early allowing our friends to taste our snacks well before others start distributing. My mom and my grandma are good in preparing tasty snacks and handling the distribution. They also help neighbors to prepare sweets at their home. Myself and my close friend used to sit behind the kitchen when the 7 cup cake is under preparation. Immediately after it is ready, we grab it without even allowing it to cool.

My sister belongs to a family that hails from North Arcot. They have the practice of preparing the brass vessel in which the water is kept for boiling for Diwali Snanam. Those days they used to have a hot water stove and a boiler separately. Most of us would not have even seen this. The vessel/boiler is cleaned, applied with slaked lime and Santhanam, kumkum. Then Suriyan and Chandran are drawn on the vessel using kumkum and water is filled in the vessel for boiling next day morning for ganga snanam. They call it as Neer Roppara pandigai. They also apply Nalungu while applying oil to the children at home and take aarthi.

We prepare Paruppu Payasam, Vengaya sambar & Urulai curry on the previous day for dinner.

North Indians Celebrate Diwali as they consider that it is the day Lord Rama Returned from forest. They celebrate this on amavasya day. Since the night will be dark they lit lots of lamp welcoming  Rama reach kingdom. It is also called as Day of lights in North India.

For the couple celebrating  first Deepawali after Marriage which we call as Thalai Diwali, the bride and the groom are invited to the wife's house for the celebration. Mother in law make them sit in a manai palagai apply Nalungu to both daughter and son in law and apply oil on their head for bath. New dresses are given to both of them and Sweets & Savories are also packed to them during their return to home.

Wishing you all a wonderful Diwali.....

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