Thursday, October 19, 2006

Diwali!! Dhanteras.. Day 1

Orange glow of twinkling diyas..Multi-coloured Rangoli ..floral decorations and fireworks this festival heralds joy, mirth and happiness in the ensuring year!
Diwali or more aptly Deepavali is very enthusiastically celebrated for five continuous days and each day has its significance with a number of myths, legends and beliefs.
The word "Diwali" is the corruption of the Sanskrit word "Deepavali" - Deepa meaning light and Avali, meaning a row. It means a row of lights and indeed illumination forms its main attraction.
The First day is called DHANTERAS or DHANTRAYODASHI which falls on the thirteenth day of monthof Kartik. The word "Dhan" means wealth. As such this day of the five-day Diwali festival has a great importance for the rich mercantile community of Western India. Homes and Business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colourful with lovely traditional motifs of Rangoli designs to welcome the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Lamps are kept burning all through the nights. Believing this day to be auspicious women purchase some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils. "Lakshmi-Puja" is performed in the evenings when tiny diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. "Bhajans"-devotional songs- in praise of Goddess Laxmi are sung and "Naivedya" of traditional sweets is offered to the Goddess. There is a custom in Maharashtra to lightly pound dry coriander seeds with jaggery and offer as Naivedya.
A very interesting story about this day is of the sixteen year old son of King Hima. As per his horoscope he was doomed to die by a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular fourth day of his marriage his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband's boudoir and lighted innumerable lamps all over the place. And she went on telling stories and singing songs. When Yam, the god of Death arrived there in the guise of a Serpent his eyes got blinded by that dazzle of those brilliant lights and he could not enter the Prince's chamber. So he climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments and coins and sat there whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning he quietly went away.Thus the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "YAMADEEPDAAN" and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yam, the god of Death.

Back to the sweets now..... my Parents are with us during Diwali, so it is like a double celebration for me and M, especialy as it is my first Diwali after marriage!
I started by trying to make something 'different', but sadly that did not work out to my expectation, and after all the cleaning up and the excitement of having my parents arriving one day before Diwali, I decided to do what is the 'never- fail' recipe.... I wanted to make 'shankarpali'... but this time with a sure fire recipe... no time to experiment..

So I measured :
1 cup water
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups maida (All Purpose Flour)
2 pinches baking soda
Pinch salt
Oil for deep frying

Boil the water, oil and sugar. Switch off the heat.. Add maida, salt and B.Soda, mix well.. cover and keep aside for a while for the mixture to cool down. After that, knead the dough . Make smalls balls of the dough and roll out a chapatti. With the aid of a knife cut diamond shapes. Deep fry to a golden colour. Store in an airtight jar after they are completely cooled.

* Edited to add: one reader has supplied the following information: Kartik month (as per hindu moon calender)starts the day after the diwali.Dhanteras is the 13th day of Asweja month.

I also wish to state that the information I had was from a google search .
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  1. ready to prepare diwali treats for all three days...:-)..Have a blash..Happy diwali to u and your family.:-)

  2. Happy Diwali to you and your family! Those treats look great, haven't had them in ages! Must make them one of these days...thanks for the recipe.


  3. Hi Meena! Happy Diwali to u and ur Family ... hope u have a gr8 time!
    Hi Trupti! Happy Diwali to u and ur family too!!

  4. Dear Manasi,

    Kartik month (as per hindu moon calender)starts the day after the diwali.

    In your post, you mentioned that dhanteras falls on the 13th day of kartik month. please change the same as dhanteras is the 13th day of Asweja month.

  5. Hi Triveni,

    In the hindu calendar, people belonging to some states, count a month from Pournima to Pournima and other sections count it from Amavasya to amavasya. It depends to which community you belong!!!

    Hence this difference.. take care and happy diwali!!!


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