Top 5 important festivals in Shravan and the food culture associated with them.
Satiate your appetite this Shravan with some traditional Maharashtrian delicacies made with Satva Ghee!
In India, nothing says Monsoon like a sight of rakhi vending stalls in the market and luring fragrances wafting through the kitchen! Every season here brings along a plate full of festive enthusiasm and, Monsoon is the king of them! Let us tell you why!
According to the Marathi calendar, there are 12 months, each of 30 days. The year starts with Gudi Padwa – the first day of the first month ‘Chaitra’.
‘Shravan’ is the fifth month and happens to coincide with July and August – the peak monsoon in India!
5 great festivals are celebrated in the month of Shravan. They are:
- Nag Panchami
- Rakhi Purnima / Rakshabandhan
- Narali Purnima
- Pithori Amavasya / Pola / Bendur
To have a closer look at the core of the month – ‘Shravan’, we spoke to one of our eldest and cutest customers. She is like our caring loving grandma – an 85-year-old lady with a typical Maharashtrian upbringing. We asked her to explain ‘What is Shravan Celebration like at your house? What are the major festivals? What is its significance? And, (most important!) What are the Shravan-Special Foods and Delicacies?’
She was super excited to talk about the heritage of her culture. And, here is something interesting that she told us – In the month of Shravan, every ‘day’ in the week has certain significance associated with it! Monday, Tuesday… every day is special in itself. [And we were thinking that the celebration is just for the 5 days!] So, Shravan is really like a unique combination of Indian festivals, food and rich traditions behind them!
In the conversation, we realised that there are so many Shravan-specific lip-smacking delicacies that are cooked in a Marathi Kitchen. We felt that it was our responsibility to bring them into the limelight! They were not only delicious but also surprisingly, super healthy!
We will look into the festivals and the zesty feast associated with each of them!
Festival 1: Day 5: Nag Panchami (नागपंचमी)
Nag Panchami is the first major festival that is celebrated on the fifth day of the month Shravan. Hindu devotees all over India worship snakes or serpents. According to Hindu mythology, on this day, it is forbidden to plough the field. Also, as per their belief, women do not roast, fry or chop anything while cooking.
Long story short – thanks to this tradition, we got some mouth-watering dishes that we were unaware of!
Dind – when she described it, we could experience the fragrance of warm sweet Dind enriched with a soft dribble of pure ghee! Ah!
When we asked for the recipe we found out that this is perfect for everyone. We always complain about not getting to eat sweet owing to the health-related issues. But this one could be an exception!
Dind is a square-shaped pocket-like dessert. It is filled with Puran (पुरण) with a layer of wheat dough enveloping it. Puran is made using Chickpeas and jaggery. So, it is also very nutritious and healthy, making its sweetness double! After steaming it for about 10-15 mins, it is served with a bowl of ghee next to it.
We are going to try making Dind this Nag Panchami and we are sure that with Satva Ghee its goodness will be enriched to the next level!
Steamed Rotis / Ukadichya Polya (उकडीच्या पोळ्या)
Since it is not allowed to roast anything on this festival, women steam the rotis in a steamer instead of roasting them on the pan. These steamed rotis are also relished with ghee. We Indians are used to having roasted rotis round the year. But, these steamed rotis are one of a kind! When we tried one in our kitchen pouring a spoonful of Satva ghee upon it – it just melted in our mouths! No combination of words can describe that experience.
Festival 2: Day 15: Rakhi Purnima / Rakshabandhan (राखीपौर्णिमा / रक्षाबंधन)
Rakhi Purnima is the celebration of love between a brother and his sister. The sister ties a rakhi on the wrist of her brother and brother promises her that he will always have her back. This festival is observed on ‘Purnima’- ‘Full Moon Day’ – the fifteenth day of Shravan. Curiously, Narali Purnima also falls on the same day!
Festival 3: Day 15: Narali Purnima
Narali Purnima is majorly celebrated in the west-coastal areas of Maharashtra. The ocean is worshipped by the fishermen communities with Coconut as an offering. This day symbolizes the beginning of calmer seas. Fishermen pray for safe sailing as the Monsoon ends.
These two festivals, observed on the same day, come with a special coconut viand!
Narali Bhat / Coconut Rice
Narali Bhat – The sweetened Coconut rice has been one of the oldest traditions of Hindu adherents. In general, Shravan Purnima is marked for the importance of Coconut in the kitchen. Along with Narali Bhat, women also prepare Naralachya Vadya (Conocut Barfi), Karanji, Modak, etc.
The Coconut Rice is sweetened with jaggery or sugar. It is made to commend the day that denotes the finish of the rainstorm and the fishermen can venture into the ocean to catch fish. Let us briefly explain you the recipe of Narali Bhat on the go…
Pour some Satva Ghee on the pan and Sauté the cloves (लौंग / लवंग) and rice, preferably Basmati in it. Cook the rice in a pressure cooker. Let it cool off. Prepare a dry mixture of desiccated coconut & sugar and gently mix the rice with the mixture. Delicious Narali Bhat is ready to serve!
Festival 4: Day 23: Gokulashtami / Janmashtami (गोकुळाष्टमी / जन्माष्टमी)
This festival is the centerpiece of all the different festivities going on in Shravan. Gokulashtami is the festival of the commemoration of Lord Krishna. At midnight, as the day of Gokulashtami begins, Hindu celebrate Krishna Janma (Birth of Lord Krishna). Dahi Handi is the foremost attraction of the grand celebration of Gokulashtami. Dahi Handi is very popular among youth. It’s a celebration filled with energy, enthusiasm, and playfulness which we attribute to Lord Krishna.
Kala / Dahi Kala (काला / दही काला)
Dahi Kala is the signature viand of Gokulashtami. If we want to translate to English literally, ‘Kala’ would mean ‘a messy mixture’. Wait, what?
Yes, But trust us! Dahi Kala is one of the most authentic, rustic and tastiest cultural food items we have ever tasted! On the backdrop of the story of Lord Krishna having a meal with his friends on the field, Kala is made with several food items available at the time. There is no ‘measurement’ business! So, what goes in Dahi Kala? Dahi (yoghurt), rice flakes (poha), cucumbers, coriander, ghee, chopped green chilies, pomegranate seeds, sugar, salt, apple pieces, and, anything you wish to add!
This Gokulashtami, don’t forget to relish ‘Kala’ with the goodness of Satva Ghee!
Festival 5: Day 30: Pithori Amavasya / Pola / Bendur (पिठोरी अमावस्या / बेंदूर / पोळा)
Pithori Amavasya is observed on the last day of the month Shravan. This day is celebrated as a tribute to the oxen/bull who help the farmers in the farming activities. Bulls are decorated with beautiful ornaments and shawls. Farmers paint their horns. Women perform a pooja. It’s a yearly holiday for bulls! 🙂
A parade of bulls is arranged in the village which goes up to the temple of Lord Hanumana. On this day, bulls are fed special feast of puran poli. Puran poli is again an authentic dish from the Maharashtrian culture.
What is with the word ‘Pithori Amavasya’?
Amavasya, according to Hindu calndar means the lunar phase of the new moon. It is believed to be a symbol of darkness. However, Pithori Amavasya brings along some special joys. After worshipping the bulls, a mother gives the offering to her son. She performs the vrata – a form of devotional vow. She prepares a feast using flours. This menu of prasadam contains – Valache Birade, cooked lal math vegetable (A red leafy vegetable), rice kheer (pudding), puri, satori and pakodas. The mother fulfils the vrata. As per the tradition, she then takes this pakwan over her head and asks ‘Who’s the guest?’ (‘अतिथी कोण?’). Children then reply saying ‘I am’ and takes the pakwan from behind. This vrata is performed for the long life of children. There is a tradition of worshipping 8 Kalash of this day. On the rice grains, flour statues are kept while appealing the 64 Yoginis.
In Marathi language, flour means ‘Pith’ (पिठ) and hence the name ‘Pithori’.
The star of this celebration is the sweet called ‘Satori’
Satori is the patent sweet of this festival. It looks like a karanji except for the fact that a Satori is usually round. Wheat cover filled with Puran deep fried in ghee!
So, these were the major five festivals and the traditional Maharashtrian cuisine associated with them.
Wait, there is more!