Archive | October, 2009

Diwali and legends related to it

17 Oct

Diwali is celebrated on the new moon day of the Kartika month in the Hindu calendar. Diwali also known as Deepawali is a row of lamps. Deepa means “lamps” and awali is “a row”. The significance of this festival is to lead human race from darkness to light. It is for this reason that lamps are lit on the new moon day when the sky is completely dark. There are many stories in IndianMythology associated with this festival.

Return of Rama to Ayodhya: Lord Rama goes to forests on his father’s word. His father,  Dusherata does this to grant the wish of his wife Kiakeyi. In his absence Rama’s brother and Kaikeyis son, Bharata was ruling the country, Lord Rama returned from forests to Ayodhya after 14 years. Ramas brother Bharata was ruling the country representing Rama for these 14 years in the absence of Rama. In the absence of Rama Ayodhya, kingdom of Rama, was dull and people lived in grief and sorrow missing Rama. There was no cheer in the lives of the people.  On the day when Rama returned to Ayodya after defeating Ravana, people of Ayodhya rejoiced themselves, they decorated their houses with flowers. Each of them prepared delicious sweets and lit lamps in and out of the houses celebrated the return of Lord Rama. This day of Ramas return to Ayodhya is celebrated as Diwali

Death of Naraka: Narakasura was a demon and was troubling the world. On the day before Diwali is 14th day that is the Chaturdasi. On this day Lord Krishna killed Demon Narakasura with the help of SathyaBhama, Lord Krishnas wife. This day is thus known as NarakaChaturdasi and celebrated as part of Diwali.

Bali Padyami: Lord incarnated as Vamana, it was on the  day, next to the new moon day in the month of Kartika in the Hindu calendar, that is the day next to Diwali, Lord in the form of Vamana sent King Bali to nether.This day is also a part  of the diwali celebrations

Story of Godess Lakshmi: Godess Lakshmi was incarnated on this day during churning of ocean (link) That is reason why Diwali is associated with Lakshmi and Lakshmi pooja.

Return of Pandavas: In the great epic Mahabharata, Pandavas returned from 12 years of banishment  on the day of Karthika Amavasya, the new moon day of the Kartika month, which is celebrated as Diwali.

 

Diwali is celebrated with lot of passion and vigor in India. People fire crackers, eat sweet dishes, wear new clothes. Diwali is one of the most celebrated festival in India.

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Fasting for the well being of better half – the “karwa chauth” way

7 Oct

Karwa Chauth is celebrated on the fourth day (chauth is the fourth day) after the full moon in the Kartika month of the Hindu calendar. Karwa means a pot and Chauth refers to  the fourth day.  This festival is mostly celebrated in the North India. This festival is celebrated by married ladies for the welfare and long lasting lives of their husbands. On this day, married ladies observe strict fasting. Married women leave the fast only after they see their husband before which they see the moon through a sieve.

There are many tales related to Karwa Chauth in Indian Mythology. Some of them are as listed below:

Story of Queen Veeravati: Once upon a time there was a queen by the name of Veeravati. She had seven brothers who were very caring and loving. On the first Karwa Chauth after her marriage she went to her parents place and started on fast before sunrise and observing fast and could not bear her hunger. Observing their sister facing the problem of hunger, her brothers tried to deceive her by showing a full moon after which she broke her fast, though the moon did not appear till then.

      After this she got to know that her husband had fallen ill and rushed to her kingdom. On her way to the kingdom she met Lordess Parvati who informed that her husband has died. Veeravati then asked to forgive and give back his life. Parvati asked Veeravati to be follow Karwa Chauth very faithfully after which Veeravati got back her husband alive.

Story of Draupati in Mahabharata: Once Arjuna went to Nilgiris for penance and the remaining Pandavas faced many problems. Unable to see her husbands’ problems, Draupati approached Lord Krishna for help. Krishna recalling a similar situation faced by Parvati, advises Draupati to be on a strict fast on the day of Karwa Chauth and pray for the long lives of her husbands, as did Parvati. Draupati sincerely followed the advice of Lord Krishna and could rescue her husbands’ from the problems.

Story of Karwa There was lady named Karwa who was a great Pati – vrata (deeply devoted to her  husband). One day her husband was caught by a crocodile while taking bath in the river. Karwa used a cotton yarn to bind the crocodile and prayed god Yama (death god) to kill the crocodile and send it to hell. Yama was not ready to do that and so she scared Yama that she would curse him using her Pati-vrata powers. Yama, being scared of her, granted her the wish. The day when this happened was the fourth day after the full moon in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. It is on this day that Karwa Chauth is celebrated by all married ladies.

Karwa Chauth day Puja:

     Married Ladies get up early in the morning and eat food prepared by their mother in laws. This food is called as “Sargi”. They pray to Gods Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha and Kartikeya for the long lives of their husbands. After this they are on a strict fast. They even abstain from water till they see the moon in the night thru a sieve. They end the fast only after worshipping moon and seeing the moon through a sieve. After this the next they see is their husband.

Ladies take this occasion to dress up well and enjoy the ceremony. On this day ladies apply mehendi decorating their hands and feet. After this ladies receive gifts from their mother-in-law. They decorate a Karwa (pot) for the puja very artistically by painting it form outside, putting some sweets, chocolates, a small handkerchief.

Lordess Parvati is prayed with lots of flowers on this day by groups of ladies sitting around the Lordess. A red colored thread is tied around the Karwa. Ladies put the Karwa in front of them while performing puja. An elderly lady also holds the Karwa and narrates the stories related to Karwa Chawth to the ladies.

After the puja is done, ladies look at the moon and leave the fast.