Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Festival of Lights- Diwali

It is the festive season in India and as per the Hindu Calender, Diwali or the vedic new year is just around the corner- to be celebrated on the 17th of october. Diwali has many stories and signifies different aspects in different parts of india.
As per Hindu calendar, the five day festival of Diwali is centered on the new moon day that ends the month of Ashwin and begins the month of Kartika, beginning on the 13th day of the dark half of Ashwin (Ashwin 28th) and ending on the 2nd day of the bright half of Kartika (Kartika 2nd). The main day of celebration varies regionally- in south diwali is celebrated one day earlier -this is called chotti diwali in the punjab and the rest of north india. Basically, on this day , the homecoming of Ram from exile is celebrated with great pomp and crcakers are burnt. On this day, Lakshmi and Ganesha poojan is done - to bring wealth and prosperity in to the house.
Diwali isnt only celebrated by the Hindus in Inidia but today has become a global phenomenon thanks to globalisation.
In Jainism, Diwalli marks the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira on 15 October, 527 BC.
Deepavali has been significant in Sikhism since the illumination of the town of Amritsar commemorating the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji (1595-1644), the sixth Guru of Sikhism, who was imprisoned along with 52 other Hindu kings at Fort Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir. After freeing the other prisoners, he went to the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in the holy city of Amritsar, where he was welcomed happily by the people who lit candles and divas to greet the Guru. Because of this, Sikhs often refer to Diwali also as Bandi Chhorh Divas - "the day of release of detainees.
The festival is also celebrated by Buddhists in Nepal, a majority-Hindu country, particularly the Newar Buddhists.
In India and Nepal,Diwali is now considered to be a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians and Nepalese regardless of faith. Kerala is the only state in India where Deepavali is not a big celeberation.
Kidha is celebrated for a differing number of days by different communities. Though the core days are common and fall on exactly the same set of days across Nepal and India, they fall in different Gregorian months depending on the version of the Hindu calendar being used in the region. The Amanta ("ending on the new-moon") version of the Hindu Calendar has been adopted as the Indian national calendar. According to this calendar, which is prevalent in southern India and Maharashtra, the 6-day celebration is spread over the last four days of the month of Ashwina and the first two days of the new month of Kartika. According to the Purnimaanta ("ending on the full-moon") version prevalent in northern India, it falls in the middle of the month of Ashwayuja/Ashvin. In the Gregorian calendar, it falls generally in the months of October or November. In Nepal, it is celebrated according to Nepalese calendar. The festival marks the last three days and the first two days of Nepalese era.
On the day of Deepavali / Deepavali, many wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks. Some North Indian business communities start their financial year on Deepavali and new account books are opened on this day.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A refreshingly refreshing Drink

okie so its the ingredients that make this drink an absolute delight- a version of the desi adrak-pudina shikanjvi but with a modern twist to it.
i will put up th epics in a few days as im having a problem with my net conection here.
so here goes:
for the ingredients:
a few leaves of fresh pudina (mint) ( i used approx 5-7 as i like it a  bit mild)
freshly grated ginger - about 1/2 to 1 tsp (depending on how strong you want the ginger flavour)
sugar or jaggery-about 2 tsps of sugar, i used fructose a healthy low cal sugar alternative ..
juice of  1/2 a lemon
a pinch of black salt( optional)
okie so now in a stone/steel mortar and pestle grindle the mint leaves into a paste- this brings out the amazing mint oil(incase you dont want to continue making the drink after this, the mint oil is an excellent remedy for joint pains when heated with olive oil or an excellent remedy for acidity-mix the mint oil and a little bit of the paste in watre and boil until warm and drink it up)
then add the freshly grated ot finely chopped ginger(for this recipe finely chopped is better)to the mint and grind some more,
then add the sugar and grind again for about 1 min approx.
Add this to a serving glass,then add the lemon juice - i love lemon juice so i used half a lemon but one can use less if preffered-the lemon basically balances out the flavours and acids when soda is used- yes the twist in the drink is soda- so after this adda pinch of black salt if desired and then add chilled soda and voila - a modern twist of the traditional desi pudina - adrak shikanjvi is ready.
the recipe takes about 5 mins approx and it actually isnt a stedious as i make it sound here but then ive even engligtened on the effects of pudina ka taila and what the use of lemon in the drink is etc, etc.
This drink is exceptional when served mid afternoon on a hot  summers day or even after a hearty meal- be it lunch or dinner- it has ingredients which aid digestion.Hope you all like this and od leave your comments.

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