Updated: Deepavali-Diwali – October 21st – 24th

The word Diwali originated from the Sanskrit word “Deepavali” which means “rows of light”. This 5 day long Hindu festival is celebrated throughout the world with great enthusiasm and happiness. Diwali or deepavali is the festival signifying the victory of good against evil.

It usually occurs in October/November, and is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited festivals in India and all over the world. Diwali comes 3 weeks after Dasara.

The first day of Diwali celebrations i.e. on Thrayodasi ತ್ರಯೋದಶಿ is called as Neeru Thumbuva Habba ನೀರು ತುಂಬುವ ಹಬ್ಬ in Kannada. This day all the vessels which are used to fill or collect water are cleaned in the evening, decorated with mango leaves, flowers, and rangoli. I remember all the water geysers and boilers were washed, filled with fresh water and rangoli drawn on them this day.

The rangoli prepared is by soaking rice in water for a few hours and grinding the same into a smooth paste. My Mom used to take a piece of cloth, dip it into this rice paste and draw Rangoli every where from the front door to the kitchen. All corners of the house used to have rangoli, which used to be as white as milk. Just amazing.

Naraka Chaturdashi is celebrated on the second day of diwali celebrations. People wake up early in the morning apply the kumkum (ladies in the household do the arathi), on their foreheads and then take bath.

We used to all sit on a platform, usually called a Mane which is decorated with Rangoli designs, lamps lit on both sides. Everyone is applied Kumkum on the forehead, given betel leaf, nut, and arathi is done by elderly ladies in the house. They will take the oil cup and dip a flower  in it and apply it on everyones head. And the man are supposed to give money for the ladies doing the Aarathi. Such a nice tradition, isn’t it?

The story goes that Narakasura the daemon ruler of Pragjyotishpur after defeating Lord Indra had snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess and imprisoned 16,000 daughters of the gods and saints in his harem. On the day previous to Naraka-chaturdashi, Lord Krishna killed the demon and liberated the imprisoned daughters and also recovered those precious earrings of Aditi. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon’s blood and returned home in the very early morning of the Naraka-chaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice.

Another legend is about King Bali. His power and increasing influence posed a threat to the security of all ‘Devatas’ so they prayed Lord Vishnu to help them out. To help Devatas and to curb King Bali’s powers Lord Vishnu went to King Bali in the guise of a short-height ‘Brahmin’, and begged to give him only that much area of land that he could cover with in three steps because King Bali was well known for his philanthropy. King Bali saw just a short-height ‘Brahmin’ asking for a little piece of land so he proudly granted him his wish. That very moment that short-height ‘Brahmin’ disappeared and there was almighty Lord Vishnu in place of him. In his first step Lord Vishnu covered the heaven and in the second step the earth and asked King Bali where to put his third step. Then King Bali offered his head to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu put his third step on his head and pushed him deep into the underground. But at the same time being impressed by his generosity Lord Vishnu gave King Bali the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps.

The third day of Diwali is the most important day during which we perform Lakshmi Pooje; to the Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi Pooje falls on the dark night of Amavasya. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening to seek blessings of Goddess of Wealth.

I am sure you all will do the Lakshmi Pooje, and get her blessings. The most important song we sing while performing Lakshmi Pooje is Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma song.

The fourth day of Diwali is called “Bali Padyami“. Bali would come out of Pathala Loka and rule Bhuloka as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu. Hence, it is known as ‘Bali Padyami’.

P.S: Diwali dates – 2014

This year Diwali is celebrated from November 1st – November 4th.

October 21st – Neeru Thumbuva Habba

October 22nd – Naraka Chaturdasi

October 23rd – Lakshmi Pooja

October  24th – Bali Padyami

What is Naraka Chaturdashi?

Naraka Chaturdashi is celebrated on the second day of diwali celebrations. People wake up early in the morning apply the kumkum (ladies in the household do the arathi), on their foreheads and then take bath.

The story goes that Narakasura the daemon ruler of Pragjyotishpur after defeating Lord Indra had snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess and imprisoned 16,000 daughters of the gods and saints in his harem. On the day previous to Naraka-chaturdashi, Lord Krishna killed the demon and liberated the imprisoned daughters and also recovered those precious earrings of Aditi. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon’s blood and returned home in the very early morning of the Naraka-chaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice.

Another legend is about King Bali. His power and increasing influence posed a threat to the security of all ‘Devatas’ so they prayed Lord Vishnu to help them out. To help Devatas and to curb King Bali’s powers Lord Vishnu went to King Bali in the guise of a short-height ‘Brahmin’, and begged to give him only that much area of land that he could cover with in three steps because King Bali was well known for his philanthropy. King Bali saw just a short-height ‘Brahmin’ asking for a little piece of land so he proudly granted him his wish. That very moment that short-height ‘Brahmin’ disappeared and there was almighty Lord Vishnu in place of him. In his first step Lord Vishnu covered the heaven and in the second step the earth and asked King Bali where to put his third step. Then King Bali offered his head to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu put his third step on his head and pushed him deep into the underground. But at the same time being impressed by his generosity Lord Vishnu gave King Bali the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps.

October 23rd – Lakshmi Pooja

P.S: Past few years pooja pictures attached below….


The third day of Diwali is the most important day during which we perform Lakshmi Pooje; to the Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi Pooje falls on the dark night of Amavasya. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening to seek blessings of Goddess of Wealth.

I am sure you all will do the Lakshmi Pooje, and get her blessings. The most important song we sing while performing Lakshmi Pooje is Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma song.

Some useful links for Lakshmi Pooja:

October 24th – Bali Padyami

The fourth day of Diwali is called “Bali Padyami“. Bali would come out of Pathala Loka  ಪಾತಾಳ ಲೋಕ and rule Bhuloka ಭೂಲೋಕ as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu. Hence, it is known as ‘Bali Padyami’.

King Bali of the netherworld, with his mighty power, had become a threat to the gods. To curb his powers, Lord Vishnu in the guise of a Brahmin boy (Vamana), visited him and begged for that much land he could cover with three footsteps.

So, with the first step, Vamana covered the entire heaven and with the second step the earth. When he asked Bali where he could keep his third step, Bali offered his head and put the Lord’s foot on his head. Lord Vishnu banishes Bali into the Pathala (nether land) by his third stride. Later, pleased by his generosity, Lord Vishnu grants him a boon to return to earth once in a year to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.

Links to songs sung while performing Aarathi during Diwali.

Diwali Songs Part 1

Diwali Songs Part2

Dishes to be prepared for Diwali

Rangoli for Diwali

Goddess Lakshmi Songs

Rangoli For Lakshmi Pooja

Naraka Chaturdashi celebrations in Mantralaya

Please find attached pictures of Naraka Chaturdashi celebrations in Mantralaya.

http://raghavendramutt.org/stories/naraka-chaturdashi-celebrations-shri-matha

Wish you all a VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS DEEPAVALI/DIWALI.

Solar Eclipse – Thursday Oct 23rd 2014

A partial solar eclipse is visible in the United States on Thursday October 23rd 2014. Eclipse Begins at 3:38 PM EST and Ends at 7:42 PM EST.

The Lakshmi Pooja which usually is performed on Amavasya i.e. Thursday should be performed a day earlier on Wednesday or a day after the Eclipse Friday.

As I have been traveling extensively the past couple of months, and am in New Jersey right now, I am going  to perform the Lakshmi Pooje on Friday October 24th 2014.

Please check your local calendars if you reside in other countries.

 

Updated : Dasara – Navarathri – September 25th – October 3rd 2014

Dasara is celebrated all over India as a religious as well as a social festival. Nava means nine and rathri means night and so Navarathri means nine nights. Some call it as Navarathri, some as Vijaya Dashami, and some as Dussehra. Doesn’t matter what you call, does it?

This year Dasara is celebrated from September 25th – October 3rd 2014. Please check the dates in the country you are residing.

From day one of the festival, it is customary to keep a Kalasha (ಕಲಶ), this is filled with water(ನೀರು) and 4 betel leaves(ವೀಳೆದೆಲೇ) are arranged as shown below in the pictures.Apply Haldi (ಆರಿಶಿನ) , Kumkum(ಕುಂಕುಮ), and flowers, gejje vastra (ಗೆಜ್ಜೆ ವಸ್ತ್ರ) as shown again. This Kalasha is kept in front of the Pattada Gombe (ಪಟ್ಟದ ಗೊಂಬೆ) which is given during the marriage to the bride. This ಪಟ್ಟದ ಗೊಂಬೆ signifies Lord Srinivasa and Goddess Padmavathi. Again, see pictures below. These ಪಟ್ಟದ ಗೊಂಬೆ are decorated with different jewelery, crown, bangles, dresses every few years.

Pattada Gombe 2

If you are keeping an elaborate Gombe (Dolls), than the Kalasha and the Pattada Bombe are placed on the top shelf. And all other arrangements follow next.

Even though all the 10 days and nine nights are important, there are a few major days where pooja is done with great devotion and pomp.
Those days are as follows:

  • Saraswathi Awahana – October 1st
  • Saraswathi Pooja – October 2nd
    Read more about Saraswathi Pooje here.
  • Durgasthami – October 2nd
  • Ayoodha Pooja – Mahanavami – October 2nd. Read more about Ayoodha Pooja here.
  • Vijayadashami – October 3rd

Devotional Songs for Dasara:

Dasara Pictures around the world:

Food Prepared during Dasara

Other links posted on the blog:

Snake Gourd Kootu – Paduvala Kayi Kootu

Snake Gourd Kootu – Paduvala Kayi Kootu is a dish which my Husband loves dearly. Last week when we went to H-Mart found Snake Gourd, and both kinds of Pumpkin. He wanted me to make this Kootu, so here is the recipe.

I used the same procedure as posted in Sweet or Sihi Kootu. Used Moong dal instead of Toor dal.

The very first time I fried all the ingredients I received a phone call, lowered the heat and went to take the call. By the time I came back the ingredients where charred black. Had to redo the whole thing again. So, while frying the ingredients, stay close to the Gas Stove. :)

Ingredients to grind:

  1. Urad dal or Uddina Bele –  1 tablespoon
  2. Whole Black pepper or Menasu – 10
  3. Raw Rice – 1 and 1/2 tablespoons
  4. Whole Red Chillies – 5 (use less than less spicy)
  5. Fresh or dry coconut – 5 tablespoons

P.S: 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons

Other Ingredients:

  1. 1 big Snake Gourd washed and chopped
  2. 1 cup cooked Moong dal or Hesaru Bele
  3. For seasoning :  Oil, mustard seeds, hing, turmeric.

Method:

  • Fry all the ingredients mentioned in ingredients to grind. Once it is cooled, grind into a smooth paste.
  • Cook moong dal in pressure cooker along with Snake Gourd.
  • In a big vessel, mix the cooked dal, add the ground paste.
  • Add salt.
  • In a pan, heat oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, hing, turmeric.
  • Add this to the dal, and vegetable mixture.
  • Let it boil for a few more minutes.
  • Serve with rice or chapathi.
  • I had made Sweet Pumpkin Palya and fried a few Happala and Sandige.

snake-gourd-kootu

 

Update: Mahalaya Paksha Masa – September 9th – September 24th 2014

The fortnight (15 days) preceding the Navaratri/Dasara or the second half “Krishna Paksha” of Bhadrapada Masa is called Pitru Paksha also known as Mahalaya Paksha. This period is important for honoring our ancestors. Men, whose fathers have passed away, offer their obeiscence (shraddha) to their ancestors during this period. This year it falls on the following days in the United States and India.
No functions such as upanayanam, marriage, gruhapravesha, engagement or any such activities performed during this 15 days. These 15 days are totally dedicated to our ancestors.
Pitru Paksha – Mahalaya Paksha : September 9th – September 24th 2014
There are many resources available online to assist in giving tarpana and doing shradha for the departed souls of ones family. Attached below are all the links.
If you have any resource, please share.

Sree Shiva Vishnu Temple is performing the same and a donation of $95 is charged and includes dakshina for the priest as well.

P.S: Please refer to dates in your country, and check with elders or temple priests.

2014 – Gowri Ganesha Festival Pictures

Pooje preparations in the morning.

Ganesha-Festival-2014

img_0175

Ganesha Pooje in the Morning.

ganesha-pooje

Ganesha Evening Pooje.

ganesha-evening-pooje

Evening Chakalli naivedya and Maha Mangalaruthi.

ganesha-evening-pooje1

img_0189

Gowri Pooje at my Sisters place.

gowri-pooje

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