Monday, October 27, 2008

Diwali Day 3: नर्क चतुर्दशी Narka Chaturdashi

Today is Narka Chaturdashi, the day when the Marathi household is buzzing with activity! Most family members will rise early to finish the rituals before day break. The rituals are essentially planned around the Pahili Anghol, literally the first bath a.k.a Abhyanga Snan. All the family members are massaged with a special " Sugandhi" oil by the Matriarch followed by an Utna scrub. Special scented soap (Moti and Mysore Sandal being the favourites) is used for the ritual bath. After the bath, the Karit fruit (cucumis melo var agrestis) is crushed by pressing it under the toe. This signifies killing of Narkasur the demon, a metaphor for all the negative thoughts. Its seeds are applied to the head and a small drop of the extremely bitter fruit pulp is tasted.

Owalni after Abhyanga Snan

After the customary Pooja and Owalni rituals, the entire family sits down for a joint breakfast of savouries called Faral. Finally, the kids are let loose to burst crackers


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