Category Archives: TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD

A day of firsts

We’ve never done a Ganesh Puja at home all these years, but this year I figured we should bring the Lord home too, since there’s such a buzz around it here given that we are in the heartland of this festival (it also seemed an opportune and appropriate way to offer my own prayer of thanks). So we marked Ganesh Chaturthi today with a little puja, the highlight of which, for me, was that the girls recited aloud the “Vakratund…” prayer, having learnt the words and their meaning earlier during the day.

On a kitchen-related note – the girls wanted to learn today to make dosas. It didn’t seem safe to let Noor get too close to the hot pan but I let Indira have a go at it and she seemed to get the hang quite quickly of the way the dosa batter needs to be spread on the pan.

So that makes it three firsts all in in one day !

Here’s a pretty Ganesha that Indira made recently – she learnt to sketch the form in an art session at school – and which is currently on display on her class-room’s wall.

"Vakratund mahakaay, Suryakoti samaprabha, Nirvighnam kuru me dev, sarvakaryeshu sarvada."- O large-bodied Lord with a curved trunk, you who have the brilliance of ten million suns, I pray to you to always make my work obstacle-free.

No more tears over spilt milk

Without recalling that it was Lohri that day, I  bought some chinese “tilpatti” (these are sweet sesame crackers; the kids , especially Indira, like this more than the tilgud I make at home) at Carrefour on Thursday.  Then when I got home and saw friends on FB wishing each other a happy Lohri, I was so glad that I did – tradition fulfilled serendipitously!

Then, also on FB, from Madhavi I learnt of another interesting custom, one that gives Pongal – the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu, celebrated on the same day as Makar Sankrant – its name .

Apparently “pongal” means “to boil over” in Tamil and the tradition is to allow and watch a pot of milk of to boil over, as this is believed to be a harbinger of material abundance and good luck.

As I said to Madhavi, this will help me deal with the milk spills in my kitchen – which happen sometimes when I put a pot of milk to boil to make paneer or a dessert such as gajar ka halwa – with more equanimity, now that I know the occurrence may bring good luck in its wake !