Posts Tagged ‘Rituals



With Durga Puja around the corner, Calcutta is getting all geared up for the 4 days of festivity. Yesterday happened to be Mahalaya, which is observed seven days before the Pujas. The dark fortnight of Aswayuja is known as the Mahalaya Paksha or the fortnight specially sacred for offering oblations to the departed ancestors. Durga – goddess of deliverance – comes to earth on the seventh day after the autumn new moon.

From this day starts ‘Devipaksha’ and marks the end of ‘Pitri-paksha’. It is the day when many throng to the banks of river Ganga, clad in dhotis to offer prayers to their dead relatives and forefathers. People in the pre-dawn hours pray for their demised relatives and take holy dips in the Ganges. This ritual is known as ‘Torpon’. This day bears immense significance for the Bengalis. It is according to the myths that Sree Rama hastily performed Durga Puja just before he set for Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana.

One more thing which is very closely related to this day is the early morning programme broadcasted over the radio ‘Akashvani’. In the year 1930, Mahalaya was first broadcasted over the radio in Akashvani. The programme was organised by Premankur Aatorthi, Birendra Krishna Bhadra, Nripendra Krishna Mukhopadhya and Raichand Boral. It was broadcasted live then. Later it was recorded and played. It is a practice in almost all Bengali homes to listen to this programme. Strangely, although many popular cine stars had tried to recite the same Shlokas and even television channels have attempted at it, even till date it is the original version which almost every Bengali home would be tuning into in the pre-dawn hours of Mahalaya.

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The earliest of weddings

Some interesting facts that I found related to the earliest of weddings.

  • The earliest of the wedding dresses were blue and not white. Historical evidence suggest that brides started wearing white as a symbol of purity when Queen Victoria insisted on wearing the colour as she tied the knot with Albert in 1840.
  • Research into 25,000 weddings over 350 years has revealed that the wedding cake was stuffed with meat or minces, more commonly known as the bride’s pie (read more).
  • The white colour of the wedding cakes was not due to the symbolism of the colour white but as a mark of affluence. Previous to the Victorian times, ingredients for icing were difficult to come by and white icing required the finest of sugar. Hence, the more white the cake the more affluent the family appeared.
  • The concept of the wedding ring, as studies suggest, started with the early Egyptians where the earliest of wedding rings were made from the plants growing on the banks of river Nile. The ring symbolized eternity or something that had no beginning or end due to its circular shape and was worn on the ring finger of the left hand the vein from that finger traveled directly from the heart.

Why do we clinck glasses before drinking?

Why do we Clink glasses before drinking?

As usual, this being an old practice has many many theories as to why Clinking originated

  • early Europeans believed that the sound of clashing tankards would scare away evil spirits.
  • A more recent notion suggests an appreciation among revelers for all five senses: sight, taste, smell, and, with the clinking, sound and touch.

But the most provocative theory of all — and one that’s much-debated — is attached to an ancient fear that an enemy might try to poison a drink. To prove that a drink was safe, a host would pour some of his guest’s wine into his own drinking vessel and drink it first. This evolved into crashing tankards together so that a little of each drink spilled into the other. Eventually, guests and hosts demonstrated their friendship (and their trust) by touching glasses.

Next question: Why do we say Cheers?

So what’s this blog about?

Another attempt? Well yes. Attempting to figure out another sustainable model (there are some other attempts going on parallel-ly). Well, we have a lot of questions in mind. we read up stuff, we do some research to find answers to these questions. This is an attempt to publish that little 15-20 minute research.
June 2018
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