A friend at the market was missing this week, so I asked her husband whether she was sick. “No”, he said, “she is home keeping the candle burning and celebrating Navratri.” I know that she is Hindu and a vegetarian, but this part I didn’t know…so of course I had to investigate!
The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit which equals 10 days of celebration.
The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar.
Navaratri represents celebration of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Deity in form of Shakti [Energy or Power]. On all these ten days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-mardini (Durga) are worshipped with fervor and devotion. One symbol is a candle being continuously lit for the whole time.
In Hinduism, Durga means “the invincible” and is a form of the supremely radiant goddess, depicted as having eighteen arms, riding a lion or a tiger, carrying weapons and a lotus flower, maintaining a meditative smile, and practicing “Mudra” or symbolic hand gestures.
An embodiment of creative feminine force, Durga exists in a state of independence from the universe and anything/anybody else, i.e., is self-sufficient and has fierce compassion. Durga manifests fearlessness and patience, and never loses her sense of humor, even during spiritual battles of epic proportion. At the Durga Puja festival, Durga is shown as the mother of Ganesha, Kartikeya, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
Everything you might want to know is found on this website which is all very interesting.
Here is a recipe used during the celebration that looks quite easy…
KOTU ALOO PAKORA RECIPE
1 cup kotu ka atta (buckwheat up flour)
1/4 cup finely cut coriander leaves
1/2 tbsp black pepper powder
ghee or vegetable oil for frying
3 medium sized potatoes (boiled whole till half-cooked)
1/2 tsp sendha namak (rock salt) or to tasteHow to make:
- Combine the flour, salt, pepper and coriander in round dish and mix well.
- Mix in water and cream into a smooth batter.
- Cream the batter until it is of cream consistency.
- Cover and keep aside for about 20 minutes.
- When the potatoes are cool enough, take off and slice each one into diagonal slices.
- Heat up enough ghee or oil for deep-frying in a kadhai over moderate heat.
- Put few slices of potato into the batter and cover them completely.
- One at a time, lower each slice of batter-coated potato into the hot oil.
- Fry as many slices as will float on the surface of the oil without touching.
- Fry on both sides until reddish gray and crisp.
- Serve hot as the fitters soften as they cool.
More recipes used during the celebration that you might want to try…