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The harvest festival of Lohri

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Sweetness of rewari, fragrance of popcorn, illumination of bon fire and musical traditions; the pompous Lohri is here. The festival of happiness and joy holds immense traditional and cultural values. It is widely celebrated among parts of North India on 13th January every year. On the eve of this festival people gather around a bon fire and celebrate while dancing and singing traditional songs. Some of the unknown facts about this beautiful festival are as follows:

  • People believe that this festival is named after wife of Sant Kabir, Loi. Whereas another tale suggests that Holika and Lohri were sisters.
  • The festival is dedicated to Sun God as it is the transition phase from winters to the warmth of springs.
  • This festival marks the beginning of the harvest season and is a way to adore God for successful harvest in the new season.
  • The festival of Lohri is often related to the legend of Dulla Bhatti who was a heroic character during the Mughal Empire. Lohri is celebrated in honor of Dulla Bhatti with folk songs describing his brave saga.
  • The new bride is like a blessing to the family, similar to this festival of success and prosperity. Therefore newlywed couple celebrate this festival with all their family and friends.
  • People light a large bonfire at sunset, toss sesame seeds, gur, sugar-candy and rewaries in it, sit round it, sing, and dance till the fire dies out.

 

Vivah Panchami: Marriage Anniversary of Lord Rama & Mata Sita

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The epitome of love and an idol for married couple are Lord Rama and Mata Sita. Their marriage is a live example of love, trust, care, misunderstandings and forgiveness; which are experienced by all the married people. In spite of fights or arguments, the couples celebrate their day of love. Similarly Vivah Panchami is the birth anniversary of this holy couple. It is celebrated on the Shukala Paksha Panchami of the Margashirsha month, as per the Hindu calendar.

The auspicious day is widely cherished by people from India and Nepal. Being the birthplace, as Mata Sita was born in Janakpur (present day on border of Nepal) and Lord Rama in Ayodhya. This day is a sign of remembrance of the holy couple of the Treta yug.

The magnificent event known as Ram Vivah Utsav is celebrated by processions, cultural programmes, devotional songs and other rituals. In Janakpur, the wedding ceremony is also performed and people decorate the idols of Ram and Sita as groom and bride. Devotees also take a holy dip at the famous lakes of Mithilanchal like Gangasagar, Dhanushsagar and Argaza pond to perform the Vivah Panchami rituals.

This year Vivah Panchami is on 16th December, 2015 and we hope all the devotees seek the supreme blessings From Lord Ram and Mata Sita.

Science of Gotra System

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The Bollywood cinema has created a fairy tale image of love and weddings within us. They taught us that marriages are made in heaven. Two people madly in love with each other face obstruction but are finally together at the end. But oops the mirror of our dreamy world breaks in this real world. Marriage is not between two individuals but between two families, which should pass through the checklist or societal norms. One of them being, that bride and groom should not be of same Gotras.

Gotra refers to the root person in an individual’s male lineage. The list of Brahmin Gotras is:

  • Angirasa
  • Atri
  • Gautam
  • Kashyapa
  • Bhrigu
  • Vasistha
  • Kutsa
  • Bharadwaja

Thus a custom was established that a girl and boy belonging to the same Gotra could not marry. The main reason to avoid marriage between blood relatives was to prevent the abnormal offspring due to genetic mismatch. The marriage outside the same Gotra reduces the chances of eliminating the defective allele. But it does not mean every couple of the same Gotra will give birth to a baby with the Recessive Gene Disorder.

Moreover the females consist of XX chromosomes and the males of XY chromosomes. So the Y chromosome is passed on from the father to the son and has no role in female anatomy. Hence Y chromosome plays a crucial role in modern genetics in identifying the Genealogy i.e. male ancestry of a person. And the Gotra system was designed to detect the root Y chromosome of a person easily.

This Y chromosome has no matching pair in the human body and doesn’t take part in the normal processes. Thus this rule depicts the patriarchal society approach which wanted to maintain healthy Y chromosome i.e. fair chance of males to exist.

So whatever it may be, the Gotra system came during Vedic period and with the scientific development various counter arguments are also available. It may hold reasonable relevance in the past but today it also acts as a hurdle between two loved ones. Hence we need to decide our own take.

 

Aura of Positivity: Why do we perform post wedding ceremonies?

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Indian weddings are all about a festive celebration among two families, that unites them together in the auspicious bond of love. Traditional values and cultures are most highlighted during the ceremonies beginning from engagement to the wedding day. Yet the big fat wedding doesn’t end here till the newly-wed couple arrives at the door of the house, thinking it to be the completion of all the customs but to their surprise so much more is waiting for them.

Indians must have experienced or watched the post wedding customs in all the drama series and movies on television, in which the bride and groom are warmly welcomed by the groom’s family at the door step. Here we’ll discuss further about their relevance.

Dwar-Roka Ceremony:

The Dwar Roka ceremony is performed in which the couple is not allowed to enter the house, until the groom gives some expensive gift or cash to her sister and other cousins. The sister-in-law demands a gift from her brother as it is a symbol of the beginning of new relationships and ties a hot and sweet bond between the bride and her sister-in-law.

Griha-Pravesh Ceremony:

Then the mother-in-law welcomes the couple with the traditional ‘Aarti’ and the bride enters with her right foot and kicks a vessel filled with rice and coins. The Griha pravesh ceremony is a house warming ceremony to fill up the space with kindness, tolerance, patience, generosity, humility and selfless love. By kicking the vessel at the doorstep, it symbolise the beginning of new era for the family and it denotes the arrival of happiness and wealth in her marital home. Bride being the symbol of Goddess Lakshmi, is the sign of wealth and prosperity, thus it signifies the arrival of wealth and prosperity. The reference of ‘Kalash’ has also been made in the Rigveda considering it a symbol of prosperity. It is a literal cosmos transceiver.

These ceremonies neutralises the evil aura, inside and outside the house, removing all the negative energies and bringing a new ray of positivity along with the new bride.

Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja

Loving bond between Couples: Karva Chauth and its Scientific Relevance

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The warmth of festive season is at its peak. Beautifully attired women, with henna applied on their hands offering prayers to Moon for the long life span of her partner (Pati-parmeshwar), is a long known tradition in Hinduism. Yea I am talking about the pious fasting of Karva-Chauth, where married women fast for the long life of their husbands and maintain peace and prosperity among the family relations. Numerous beliefs and sentiments have been attached to this festival, varying as per geographical relevance and traditions.

When is Karva Chauth celebrated?shubhpuja.com

Literally ‘Karva’ mean earthen oil lamp and ‘Chauth’ means four; thus this festival falls on the fourth day of the Kartik month according to the Hindu calendar. It is generally observed eight days after Dussehra. This is also the time when the onset of Rabi crops begin, so people used to gather together to wish and pray for a good harvest in this season.

Origin of Karva Chauth:

The initial significance of fasting on the day of karva Chauth was entirely different than what it has emerged with years. This festival was celebrated to symbolise the loving relationship between the bride and other women in her in-laws, who would be best-friends or sisters for life. As the girl was away from her parents and could not share her emotions with anyone in her in-laws, so she searched for her support and became friend with another lady. Now she could freely discuss her marital life as well as other stories, which leads to a strong bond between them. This festival was a signal to celebrate and honour their friendship between god-friends or god-sisters. Later the sentiments of fasting for the longevity of her husband were attached to this.

Scientific relevance of Karva Chauth:

The association between fasting by wife and increased life span of the husband is treated differently by various people. Few of them follow it because of traditional values and others might be reluctant and do it by force. So the clear picture is always a question wandering in our heads. Scientifically fasting has a biological relevance due to higher detoxification and protein synthesis in the body. As per the study of starvation-resistant biological program, it is proven that the stem cell potency and reproductive potential is preserved during the process. Whereas the high orgasmic frequency among human beings increase their span of living. Now if we attach both the results together, it is clear that fasting leads to longer reproductive capability among females and thus more sexual activity during her long life. It directly affects her partner, thus increasing his life expectancy.shubhpuja.com

Along with this, praying to Moon during Kartik month has extra benefits as the coolness and calmness provides us with better body metabolism. The heat and energy in the body is controlled which in turn is concerned with the digestive, enzymatic, and endocrine systems.

Thus the nirjalahaar (without food and water) vrat along with ‘sargi’ (food before observing fast) and ‘baayna’ (gifts offered to in-laws) results in maintaining a precious bond between families. It provides will power to the females and reciprocates their love for her husband. The mythological importance has also been mentioned in Mahabharata, where Draupadi inquires about the fast from Lord Krishna.

 

Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja