EXPLORING CULTURES & TRADITIONS: Diwali festival in Goa (Part 2/3)

Author: Gauri Kshirsagar

LAXMI PUJAN

Worship of goddess of wealth and prosperity Laxmi is performed in all the business establishments and offices on Laxmi Pujan. Diwali is considered as one of the most auspicious occasions in the Hindu calendar as it marks the beginning of new financial year for traders and businesses. Thus Laxmi Pujan or worship of the goddess is performed across all the business establishments. Laxmi Puja is also performed traditionally in all the households, where traditionally chirmulyo (puffed rice), fov, boiled chana with coconut kernel and sweets are distributed among the children.

According to Hindu Mythology, it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi will visit the cleanest house first. The puja requires the five deities to be worshiped which are:

  1. Before any auspicious activity, Lord Ganesha is worshiped as Vighneshwara.
  2. The three different incarnations of Goddess Lakshmi.
  3. The goddess of wealth, Mahalakshmi.
  4. The goddess of learning, Saraswati.
  5. The treasurer of all gods, Lord Kubera is also worshiped.

The women of the household are considered as an embodiment of Goddess Lakshmi herself. Small lamps known as ‘divas’ are lit and placed at different places in and around the house to attract the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Goddess Lakshmi. After all the rituals of the puja are performed, as per mythology, this signifies a way of chasing away malicious spirits.

A unique thing that happens on the eve of this auspicious day is the initiation of new things. Whether it is making a new investment, closing an old account or buying something new, people consider starting something new and bringing an end to something on this day as fortuitous.


BALIPRATIPADA   (PADVO)

Gorvancho Padvo is celebrated during Diwali after Laxmi pujan. On this day Cows are worshipped. Early morning the cowshed is cleaned and decorated with flowers along with mango tree leaves. Oil is applied to the cow and after that it is bathed. Later Arti and Puja of the cows are performed and a tilak of kumkum (vermillion) is applied on its forehead. The cow is decorated with a garland of flowers, colorful design is drawn on its back and then it is draped with a cloth.

A thick ‘Shepeche pole’ (like a dosa) is made of boiled rice flour and urad dal, is hung around its neck, which is later eaten by members of the family and also offered to others. Delicious food is offered to the hard-working animal and it is allowed to rest on this day.


BHAUBEEJ

On the day of Bhaubeej, sisters’ invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal and offer their brothers’ their favorite dishes. Following the tradition, sisters’ in Goa, prepare a special square shaped space on the floor. The square is further embellished with beautiful designs using rangoli. Interestingly, before the brother is made to step into this square place of worship, he is made to eat a bitter fruit – Karith. This peculiar custom has its root in a mythological legend, according to which Lord Krishna is said to have tasted this fruit before he set out to kill demon Narkasura. Here, brother stands for Lord Krishna who performed the noble deed of killing the demon.

It may be noted that according to a popular Bhau Beej legend in Hindu mythology, after slaying Narkasur, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who gave him a warm welcome with sweets and flowers. She also affectionately applied tilak on Krishna’s forehead. Since then the custom of celebrating Bhaubeej or Bhai Bij started.

Carrying forward the Bhaubeej ceremony in traditional style, sisters’ perform aarti of their brother and apply a red tika on the brother’s forehead. This teeka ceremony, on the occasion of Bhai Bij signifies sister’s sincerest prayers for the long and happy life of her brother. In return brother bless their sisters and treat them with Bhaubeej gifts or some cash. As it is customary in Maharashtra to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Bhaubeej, women who don’t have a brother worship Moon God as celebrate they must.


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