Festivals galore


This is a post that I have meant to do for quite some time.  But what with the trip to India and our return and school reopening there hasn’t been much time. So this one is about festivals. Specifically, this one is about how our family does festivals. Given that I live in the US and that there are absolutely no days off for our festivals, we have had to modify the same to suit our schedule. Yet, we try to do as much as we can since we think its important for DD to learn how Indians, even those settled abroad celebrate. We try to bring about the same sense of joy, sharing and spirituality despite the lack of close and extended family members, the resources and the time.

So far, we have celebrated 2 major festivals this year and here are some details and pictures from both those functions. One other reason I’m doing this is because, things are still fresh in my end and if I get them down here, then it serves as a handy check off list for next year. Smart, aren’t I?

So, the first one is Varalakshmi vratham or varalakshmi nombu. I could go into great detail about why and when this is done but I believe in using short cuts. So, if Wikipedia has made all the effort, why should I duplicate it? So here’s the link to some of the smaller details regarding this festival.

What this involves for us or for me, specifically is getting up really early in the morning, taking a head bath and then making idli, vada, vella kozhukattai, uppu kozhukattai and payasam. My mother and mother in law make a lot more including appam, adhirsam etc. But all that is beyond my culinary skills. So I make the former and ask for forgiveness for not making the latter. Well, once the goodies are made then I wear the nine yards sari that I wore during my wedding and cue the tape that has the varalakshmi nombu pujai on it. It has a priest chanting all the shlokas that need to be said. One hour of following the pujai process and then I make the offering to the God. In the evening, I invite married women and little girls to the house to offer them betel leaves, betel nuts, fruit, vermilion, turmeric and prasadam (offerings made to God). Here are the pictures from this year’s celebration.

This is where the Goddess sits on a silver kalash (pot) filled with rice and a lemon

This is the rangoli I drew in the living room. This is where the Goddess resides first and from where we welcome her into our home and hearth.

This is the Goddess on the day before the puja when everything is kept in readiness for the festival the next day.

 

Here’s another picture of the Goddess

 

This is after the Puja, with the lamps lit and the flowers offered in prayer. This picture is from last year since I didn’t take pictures post the puja this year.

 

 

Ganesh Chaturthi, this is one of my favorite festivals. While we do nothing the way its done back home, we have come up with our own way of celebrating the birthday of this all time favorite pot-bellied, elephant headed God of ours.

This year we made an idol of Ganesha using turmeric, offered him flowers, kozhakattai and payasam, said some shlokas and did the Maharashtrian Ganesh arati. This arati is a favorite of mine and hearing Lata Mangeshkar sing it directly transports you the God’s feet. I have given the lyrics and the translation below for those who are interested in listening to it or learning it.

Sukhkarta Dukhharta Varta Vighnachi ||
Nurvi Purvi Prem Krupa Jayachi ||
Sarvangi Sundar Uti Shendurachi ||
Kanti Jhalke Mal Mukataphalaanchi..||
Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ||
Darshan Maatre Man: Kaamna Phurti ||
Ratnakhachit Phara Tujh Gaurikumra ||
Chandanaachi Uti Kumkumkeshara ||
Hirejadit Mukut Shobhato Bara ||
Runjhunati Nupure(2) Charani Ghagriya ||
Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ||
Lambodar Pitaambar Phanivarvandana ||
Saral Sond Vakratunda Trinayana ||
Das Ramacha Vat Pahe Sadana ||
Sankati Pavave Nirvani Rakshave Survarvandana ||
Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ||

Sukhkarta Dukhharta Varta Vighnachi ||
Oh Lord who provides Joy, takes away Sadness and removes all “vighnas” (obstacles) in life

Nurvi Purvi Prem Krupa Jayachi ||
Who spreads love everywhere as his blessing

Sarvangi Sundar Uti Shendurachi ||
Who has lovely “shendur utna”(yellow-orange fragrance paste) all over his body

Kanti Jhalke Mal Mukataphalaanchi..||
Who has a necklace of “Mukataphal”(pearls in Sanskrit) around his neck

Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ||
Hail the god, Hail the god, Hail the auspicious idol

Darshan Maatre Man: Kaamna Phurti ||
all our wishes are fulfilled just by “darshan” (looking at the idol)

Ratnakhachit Phara Tujh Gaurikumra ||
Offering you Seat studded with Ratna(jewels) for you “Gaurikumra” (son of Gauri)

Chandanaachi Uti Kumkumkeshara ||
Smearing you with Chandan(Sandalwood) utna(paste) and Kumkum(Red Tilak) on the head

Hirejadit Mukut Shobhato Bara ||
Diamond studded crown suits you right

Runjhunati Nupure(2) Charani Ghagriya ||
Whose anklets tingle in his feet

Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ||
Hail the god, Hail the god, Hail the auspicious idol

Lambodar Pitaambar Phanivarvandana ||
Lambodar Who wears Pitaambar(yellow cloth worn by men during puja)
“Lambodar” – from the long – ‘lambo’, tummy – ‘udar’

Saral Sond Vakratunda Trinayana ||
Who has Straight trunk and is Vakratunda and Trinayana
“Vakratunda”one who breaks the ego of he who behaves anti-socially (‘Vakra’).
“Trinayana” the son of the 3 eyed (Lord Shiva)

Das Ramacha Vat Pahe Sadana ||
I am waiting for you in my “Sadana” (home) just like the slave(used as devotee) of Lord Rama

Sankati Pavave Nirvani Rakshave Survarvandana ||
Please help us and protect us during bad times, my Salutations to lord

Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti ||
Hail the god, Hail the god, Hail the auspicious idol

 

Here are our pictures from Ganesh Chaturthi


We’re now looking forward to Navratri, Diwali and Christmas. More blog posts and pictures will definitely follow in this series. I’m going to end with

Ganpati Bappa Morya

Mangal Murti morya

Morya Re Bappa Morya Re

Ganpati Bappa Morya

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