This volume highlights how the main festivals of India
are celebrated, providing adequate background information, wherever needed.
The spontaneous gaity and joy generated by these festivals, along with the
solemnity of the accompanying bhajans, prayer ceremonies and rituals are
captured in graphic detail. Also the special dishes associated with some of the
festivals as well as their recipes add flavour to the contents.
Beginning with the
bondire festivals of Loori the festivals that follow such as Baisakhi, Makar
Sankranti, Pongal, Mahashivratri and Ram Navami along with details of the pujas
performed are described. After the colourful Holi festivals the focus then shifts to
other festivals such as Teej, Janam Asthmiand the spectacular 'festival of lights'
Diwali. The significance of Karva Chouth has been emphasized as also the
importance of observing 'shraads'(in memory of the departed souls).
the Hindu calendar has been given and the methods of determining dates
according to the lunar calendar have been outlined. A glossary has also been
included which briefly describes the main vernacular words terms used in the
This Book is intended Mainly for the Young Housewife of today, who, as a student or as a working woman, has neither the time nor the inclination to find out the 'goings on' that once kept families together. After marriage, she suddenly realizes that she has to make a 'home' in which family members of different age groups have to find common fields of interests and common topics of conversation. She has now entered the grasth ashram, the third stage of life as described by the Indian shastras, and she has to be a good wife, a good daughter-in-law and a good mother, and later a good grandmother. She has to rise beyond her own self to carry on the multifarious activities of a household with tact, intelligence, common sense and practical, down-to-earth wisdom. She now has to make the home a 'heaven on earth' for all those who live there. This need not be tedious and tiresome, but could be a phase of life where one learns to make the joy of others a delight for oneself. The atmosphere in the house should be such that all its members make a beeline for home, and not wander around aimlessly looking for something exciting and interesting to do to kill their boredom, and in the process get entangled with alcohol, drugs or gambling and other crime-related activities. Therefore, I am writing down the age-old recipes for 'togetherness', which, if followed with wisdom, tact, persuasion and sanctity, will never fail but will create a sense of belonging to a great heritage and will anchor us securely to a given society.
By birth I am a Hindu and as such I know best the festivals that I have grown up with. Therefore, I describe them for those who follow my way of faith.
I am grateful to my mother to whose memory dedicate this book, for she performed the rituals without fail and kept them alive for me. I am also indebted to my father, who kept up the spirit of festivity; to my grandparents who contributed so much to my knowledge of festivals when I was with them and made them such memorable occasions for the entire extended family, and last but not the least, to the memory of my husband, who shared the festivities with me for thirty-eight years, so much so that to this day we are in contact with over a hundred cousins on the paternal side, and over a hundred cousins on the maternal side (this is a conservative estimate). We are a unique family, where to this day, the youngsters find their best friends from amongst the family members.
This book is not meant to foster superstitious beliefs in pujas but to put them in the proper perspective. True to the Hindu way of life, events such as a change of season, welcoming a new bride, honouring a husband, or a daughter-in-law, or a daughter, or children or those who have departed from this earth, take on the significance of religious custom always revolving around a devta. This book seeks to capture the essence of such events.
One need not celebrated every year, and I can assure cumbersome and difficult. One can leave out some, even it they have been celebrated every year, and I can assure you no harm will befall you. But one admirable quality that our mothers and grandmothers possessed was that despite all difficulties and hardships, they celebrated Festivals in the traditional manner, following the rituals meticulously. Pujas generate sanctity and a feeling of complete pureness and 'goodness'. Festivals carry with them the wisdom of the ages which will reward everyone in the end.
In this book, I have described certain ways of celebration, if you know other ways, so be it! You are free to follow your own manner of celebrating. God in his heaven is the same for all, and the importance of togetherness' is the same for all. God be with you.
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