EXPLORING CULTURES & TRADITIONS : Understanding Hindu goddesses and their role in girl empowerment (includes book recommendations)

Author: Andrea Gibbs

O Bhagwati,

Only if Shiva is conjoined with You can He create

Without You, O Shakti, He cannot even move

O, Mother, Hari, Hara, and Brahma worship You.

-The first stanza of the ‘Soundarya Lahari’ by Adi Shankaracharya.

It was Navratri and Durga Pooja this week and as several Hindu men and women seek blessings of this goddess, I am taking this opportunity to share a few glimpses of my twins’ journey – throughout last year – of understanding the great Indian goddesses from a feminist perspective.

My daughters have always had a very keen interest in powerful women, be it fictional superheroes like ‘Wonder woman’ or ‘Captain Marvel’ or real life superheroes like Anne Frank, Frida Kahlo or the Mirabel sisters.  Their interest in the Hindu goddesses developed last year when they came across the story of goddess Durga and her various forms. The interest eventually grew into reading multiple books, pretend plays, visiting temples, watching documentaries, listening to different devotional songs and even doing a photo shoot at home.

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

Author: Andrea Gibbs


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.

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EXPLORING CULTURES & TRADITIONS: Diwali Festival in Goa (Part 1/3)

Author: Gauri Kshirsagar

This year that is 2020, due to online school the twins could spend the whole of Diwali month in Goa, celebrating with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Goa is the birth place of my twins. They were born here and spent their early years here at my maternal home. So being Goans, the culture and traditions of Goa hold a special place in their hearts.

Diwali in Goa is a big religious event. It is celebrated over 5 days in October or November, with the Naraka Chaturdashi day being the most important. Diwali is the confluence of five festivals in Goa, which include:

  1. Dhanatrayodashi
  2. Narak Chaturdashi
  3. Laxmi Pujan
  4. Bhaubij
  5. Balipratipada   (Padvo)
Continue reading “EXPLORING CULTURES & TRADITIONS: Diwali Festival in Goa (Part 1/3)”