North India

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.

 

Time for Blessings for Nepal Earthquake Victims!

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shubhpuja.comThe point when man becomes helpless in front of fate, where no definite answers and reasons can be obtained is the recent occurrence of Nepal earthquake disaster. The massive earthquake of 7.9 magnitude devastated the capital on Saturday, 25th April and again on 26th of about 6.7 magnitude on Richter scale. Besides Nepal, the tremors were also felt in Delhi, Lucknow, Kolakata, Jaipur and other parts of North India. More than 3,600 people have been confirmed dead, the Associated Press reported and about tens of thousands have been left homeless.

Emergency Relief Work:

The condition lead to its people searching for their lost beloved ones, collecting their belongings from the rubble and struggling hard to fulfil the basic needs. The emergency created an environment of blessings and relief from around the world, where everybody is trying to contribute on their part. From medical aid, to sanitation and hygiene material to food and fuel, the major world-wide agencies like Ameri Cares, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Direct Relief, Global Giving, Save the Children and The Seva Foundation; have provided the emergency relief to the victims of this tragedy. UNICEF is also conducting a rapid assessment of needs and providing special aid to children. Even the U.S. Embassy in Nepal announced $1 million as initial aid along with Italy’s Foreign Ministry and French President Francois Hollande, made emergency aid available.

Causes of Earthquake:

Considering from the scientific to religious purviews, various causes and reasons have been associated with the occurrence of the natural disaster. From the Geological Experts perspective, ‘the collision between two tectonic plates of India and Eurasia beneath the Himalayas along a fault line created friction that generated energy for the crust to rupture’. Such a severe magnitude was observed 81 years before, in 1934.

As per the diverse theories of Hindus and Buddhists, some blame it upon the theory of Karmas whereas others say that such causal contingencies just happen with no relation to cosmic rhyme.

So be it anything, the disaster is an alarm for all of us to get together and help each other, in whatever way possible. Along with material aid, the Blessings are also required as more than anything the true hearty blessings heal every problem. Even reverend Pope Francis and Dalai Lama expressed their condolence and invoked divine blessings from Almighty. No matter from which ever faith or religion you belong, just spare out some time and pray for the safety and security of those people.

Shubhpuja also express their deep condolence for the tragedy and prays for the security and happiness of the victims.

Cherishing the essence of Motherhood: Ahoi Ashtami

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The day for mothers to shower the precious love upon their kids by fasting, for their happiness and prosperity is Ahoi Ashtami. A different version of Karva Chauth, this vrat is considered auspicious for mothers to keep her children healthy and happy. This festival symbolises the deep rooted love of Ma (mother) and her Mamta (motherhood), who not only nourishes an embryo in her womb but also feel connected as one soul to her child.

When is Ahoi Astami celebrated?

Ahoi Ashtami falls on the eighth day after full moon or Krishna Paksha in the Kartik month of Hindu calendar. It is generally observed four days after Karva Chauth or eight days before Deepawali. This festival is more prominent in northern part of India than others.

Relevance of Ahoi Ashtami:

According to our traditional rituals, it is said that once there was a lady who had seven sons. She went to the forest for getting soil for renovating her house. As she was digging the soil, suddenly the axe slipped from her hand and it hit a baby cub. The baby cub shouted with pain and died at the spot. The lady felt sorry and depressed but now there was nothing left, which she could transform. She went back home but the clouds of misery didn’t left her way and she lost her seven sons within a year. Later she confessed her pain and agony with few of her neighbours and they suggested her to perform the remorseful act. She prayed to Goddess Ashtami Bhagwati to get rid of her sins and null the effect of her deed. From then on, she was completely involved in praying to Ahoi Mata and kept fast on the Krishna paksha Ashtami. Goddess was pleased by her faithful devotion and forgave her for killing the cub. She even got her seven sons back, by the grace of Goddess. Since then, this tale is an inspiration for mothers to fast and pray to Ahoi Mata for the well-being of their children.

Procedure of Vrat:

Ladies wake up early morning before sunrise, eat something and then begin their fast till evening. The nirjalahaar (without food and water) vrat ends when the moon appears at night or few of them end it by seeing stars in the sky. An idol of Ahoi Mata is placed or painted on the wall. A bowl of water is kept on it and the red colour thread is twisted around the bowshubhpuja.coml, smeared with turmeric. Story of Ahoi Mata is recited by the elderly lady of the house and everybody listens to her.

Special food items are prepared on this day like puris, halwa, boiled channa and jowar, etc depending upon the tradition. Sweets are offered to Goddess Ahoi and further distributed among the other family members. A garland of silver coins is also offered to Ahoi Mata and the coin keeps on increasing as further generations are added to the family.

This festival is an epitome of love and care of motherhood. It’s a celebration of cherishing the eternal bond between kids and mothers. This fast is just an occasion but actually it is a scientific process of personal development through which the selfless love is nurtured within beings and spreads the message of humanity among the world.

 

Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja

Improve love, luck and destiny – Why should you worship during Navratri?

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Every festival has its relevance and it’s better to know and believe rather than just follow it. Similarly the nine nights of Navratri has a hidden story behind them which varies according to the belief in varied parts of India.

North India:

The North Indians hold the belief that the violent devil Mahishasura was the faithful worshipper of Lord Shiva. He adored him for years and finally achieved the fruit of eternity. On obtaining immense power, his evil energies became prominent and his ego made him feel that he can conquer all the three worlds. The devil carried on with his cruelty and evil deeds for long, which finally disturbed the Gods and other deities, as he challenged them too. Helpless innocent people along with all the other Gods pleaded the supreme power of Lord Brahma, Lords Vishnu and Lord Shiva to take some urgent action. The divine power gathered all their Shaktis together which lead to the birth of beautiful female warrior Goddess Durga. Mahishasura lost control over his emotions and felt in love with the beauty of Goddess Durga. He proposed her for marriage and Ma Durga accepted his proposal on a condition. She kept a clause that she will marry him only if he wins her in a battle. As lost in love and his pride, he accepted the condition and was sure about his victory. The fierce battle between them continued for about nine nights and finally on the ninth night, Goddess Durga beheaded demon Mahishasura. The beheading of Mahishasura symbolise the cutting down of our evil devilish qualities which resides within us. It inspires us to get rid of these traits and inculcate positive qualities otherwise our condition will be similar to Mahishasura. The tenth day is celebrated to glorify the power of goodness and spread the message around. These nine nights of struggle is the period of navratri which is considered auspicious by Hindus.shubhpuja.com

East India:

This belief holds the story about the beautiful and dedicated daughter of King of Himalayas, Daksha. Uma was madly engrossed in worshipping Lord Shiva and wanted him to accept her as his consort. She performed severe penance for several years and finally pleased by her devotion, Lord Shiva married her. Uma’s father was against their marriage and he never wanted his daughter to reside in Mount Kailash with Shiv ji. One day Daksha organized a huge yagna and invited everybody except Lord Shiva. This news irritated Uma and she went to her father, who was answerable for this insult. When she reached there, she heard her father insulting lord Shiva. This was against her self-respect and she jumped into the fire of yagna and united with eternity. She was named as Sati from then on. Later Sati took rebirth as Goddess Parvati and married Lord Shiva again. So every year Uma along with Ganesh, kartikeya, Saraswati and Lakshmi and her two friends named Jaya and Bijaya; comes to visit her parent’s home when Durga Puja is celebrated.

Another major belief is from the Hindu epic, Ramayana which says that Lord Rama worshipped the nine forms of Goddess Durga for nine days to achieve immense positive strength for ending the cruelty of Ravana. So the tenth day marks the end of evil Ravana which is still celebrated by burning huge effigies of Ravana on Dusshera.

For rejuvenating your mind, body and soul along with immense blessing of Ma Durga, book your puja package now- http://www.shubhpuja.com/Navratri-puja-depid-359796-page-1.html

 

Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja