Monthly Archives: February 2017

Festival Market: Shivo Hum, Shivo Hum (Mahashivratri Celebrations)

Standard

Har har Mahadeo’ chants fill the streets in India today. Loudspeakers  blare musical songs ‘KailashNath ki jai’ and ‘Shiv Aarti’ as Hindus gear up for  a night long celebration or for the spiritual seekers an ‘Awakening.’

Today is Maha Shivratri – the long night of worshipping Lord Shiva, (one of the three Gods of Trinity Brahma, Vishnu,Shiva). It is the day when Shiva is said to have performed the mythical Tandav Nritya– the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.

Special days bring a festive cheer and colour at any market, isn’t it? Here in India today, fruits of many colours – red and green watermelons, golden rock melon, purple grapes, brown Dates, reddish sweet potato tubers fill the street stalls. As many Hindus fast on this day partaking fruit, Dates and milk and honey – so the markets cater to specific needs.

Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram – Truth, Goodness and Beauty.

Lord Shiva the mystical, celibate, powerful of mind, the God of the yogis has much mass appeal. Call Him Mahadeo, Bhairav, Kalanetra,Gangadhara, KailashNath, Pranava or Rudra… or any one of the 108 names, it is HE whom one’s mind should dwell upon tonight, to gather up the upsurge of energy created through meditation and prayer.

Photo courtesy: Internet( Times of India)

To capture some photos of the colourful spring flowers, prayer items on sale and feel the synergy of devout people thronging to the market, was indeed a fruitful morning. Black clay pots and Palash flowers (Flame of the forest) were unique, specific ‘buy of the day.’

street market outside temple

street market outside temple

Spring time stalls selling melons, bananas, rock melon and winter leftover fruit of grapes and apples was a good mix. Sweet Potato tubers and Dates are specially consumed during fasting providing quick energy.

Street stalls selling fruits and sweet potato tubers

Street stalls selling fruits and sweet potato tubers

Black earthern Matka /claypot

Black earthern Matka /claypot

Special grass buds, crimson -red Palash flowers for Shiv puja, milk bottles, black clay pots for carrying payasam (a milk and jaggery pudding ) made an interesting addition to the usual mounds of orange marigold and white tube rose flowers. ‘Palash flowers are offered to Lord Shiva and Parvati ..special today ‘ said the woman vendor, prodding all the married women into buying it specially today.

Don’t worry if you forgot to bring a bag. This little fellow, wants to make a quick sale, as it’s a school holiday.

Vendor boy selling plastic bags for Rupees 10/ each

Vendor boy selling plastic bags for Rupees 10/ each

By night, twinkling lights will decorate temple exteriors, loudspeakers will blare musical chants, people carrying pots of payasam and plate filled with coconut and flowers will await their turn patiently at the temples. Street markets get brighter and busier as last minute business intensifies. It’s a hard day’s work, especially if one has to do the ‘jagran’ spiritual chanting and singing tonight.

Photo Courtesy: Internet ( Times of India)

Mahashivratri has many symbolisms and stories attached to it, explains the Isha Foundation:

  • Among householders, it is considered the night when Shiva married Parvati.
  • Among the ambitious, Shiva is said to have defeated all his enemies on this day.
  • For spiritual seekers, this is the day when Shiva merged with Mount Kailash.

My puja plate is ready for tonight. Many worshippers will throng the temples, others will sit or attend quiet meditation, and still others may try to find out the meaning behind all these celebrations and rituals.

Shivo Hum, Shivo Hum. The beauty of Self Realization.

Plate of puja offering

Plate of puja offering

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

Advertisements

World Palate Recipes: Sagan Ni Sev (Parsi Style)

Standard

Go to any Parsi household on a Sagan, auspicious day you will always find a big bowl of Sev or vermicelli at the table. Thanks to my Parsi friend, for inviting me to lunch and specially making this nutty sweet Sev. She reminisced how her mother always made Sev for birthdays or Sagan and garnished it with plenty of pistachios, raisins and almonds. ‘Bananas and mithoo dahi, sweet yoghurt was served too’ she added.

Parsi Sev (Vermicelli)

Parsi Sev (Vermicelli)

Iranians (Persians) were involved in trade with India since many centuries. The Parsi from Iran seeking refuge from the Islamic invasion landed in Gujarat, India. Their Zoroastrian faith shared much in common with that of the Hindus. On arrival in Gujarat, Jadi Rana the local ruler refused them entry and sanctuary to these warrior-like people. But soon the priests convinced the ruler that the Parsi would be ‘like sugar in a full cup of milk, adding sweetness but not causing it to overflow.’ Jadi Rana ordered them to adopt the local dress, customs and adapt the cuisine to blend with the Gujrati locals.

Though the Parsi prefered meat and fish they gradually incorporated local cereals, pulses and masalas into their cuisine. However the Persian ingredients of apricots, pistachios and nuts remained a favourite and a distinct reminder of their origins.

                           Dessert Recipe:  Sagan ni Sev

Be liberal with ghee, and have plenty of patience while cooking!

Ingredients

1 packet thin vermicelli

5-8 spoons of pure Ghee (clarified butter)

water as needed

Sugar 5-8 tsps. or suit your taste

For garnish: saffron strands, pistachios, almond flakes, raisins.

Nutmeg and cardamom powder (jaiphal and elaichi)

Ingredients for Sev

Ingredients for Sev

Method:

Crush the vermicelli lightly, leaving medium long strands and keep aside. It will shorten while roasting. Put a big pan on the stove, put 4-5 spoons of ghee and melt it. Add the nuts mixture, roast lightly. The aroma soon fills the kitchen space:). Keep a small amount aside for garnish.

Now add the crushed vermicelli and roast lightly, adding a dollop of ghee again. Sprinkle over some sugar, the Sev gets a dark colour due caramelized sugar.

Sprinkle few drops of water, just enough to wet the mixture. Caution! too much water will make a ‘londho’ or lump! Keep stirring to even out the mixture. Cover for few minutes.

Remove cover, add another dollop of ghee and the Sev is now ready cooked and lightly crisp. Add the cardamom and nutmeg powder. Garnish with nuts mixture. Remove in a decorative plate.

Serve warm. Enjoy the distinct Persian flavour while narrating the ‘Quessa e Sanjan’ and Jadi Rana’s story, just like my friend did.

Sev. (Parsi style)

Sev. (Parsi style)

 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer.