Hindu Mommy

March 18, 2007

Sarvajit Naama Samvatsara Shubhakankshalu

Filed under: Festivals — hindumommy @ 11:58 pm

ugadi.jpgMarch 19th is Ugadi – New Year time for Andhra-ites and Maharashtrians. My kids were confused since they just had a New Year in January.

I had to explain to them that this is a Hindu New year…then of course, follow the inevitable questions of why we have a different New Year?

I’ve read many different explanations, the most common one being that Lord Brahma the creator of the universe is supposed to have started creation on Chaitra Suddha Padhyami – Ugadi Day.

It is also said that Bhaskacharya (the Indian Mathematician) did some calculations and proclaimed Ugadi Day from the sunrise as the start of the new year, new month and new day.

I personally think that Ugadi is during spring time and spring has always been traditionally associated with new life and new beginnings – a New Year

Growing up , the most symbolic aspect of the whole festival for me was the traditional Ugadi Pacchadi (chutney) made of different tastes – salt, hot chili powder, mango, tamarind and neem leaves – each taste indicating the different aspects of life –  Sweet, salty, sour, bitter and spicy.

I also loved the ‘puran polis’ that were made to celebrate Gudi Padva.

If you are like me, you’ve probably forgotten and neglected your New Year resolutions. A time like Ugadi is useful to re-think or renew our New Year resolutions. It is also an auspicious time to start new ventures – so a good time to start anything that you’ve been procrastinating.

There is some confusion on which day Ugadi is to be celebrated because of the partial eclipse. Some people are celebrating it on March 19th and others on March 20th.

Whichever day you celebrate it, Happy Ugadi and Gudi Padva ! 

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March 4, 2007

Holi Re!

Filed under: Festivals — hindumommy @ 4:11 pm

Holi Greetings…Hope you have a colorful Holi

holi_2003.jpg

October 23, 2006

And the winner is……

Filed under: Festivals — hindumommy @ 6:16 am

I’m sure you are waiting with bated breath ….;) 🙂

 1st Prize : Swaralu

2nd Prize : LotusReads

Selection of winners was done by the extremely scientific process of having each of my girls pick a name written on a folded piece of paper 🙂

Congratulations Swaralu and LotusReads. I’ll be in touch with you via email. 

Thanks for participating folks !

Hope you had a great Diwali celebration and wishing you a prosperous New Year

October 20, 2006

Diwali celebrations – Meenal Pandya

Filed under: Festivals — hindumommy @ 10:14 pm

A few years ago, I found that Diwali celebrations in the community we live in, were becoming too much of an adult affair, filled with dinner and gupsup, leaving out the children. To create pleasant memories for my young daughters, we tried a special way to celebrate Diwali at our home, a tradition that lasted for about a decade. Now, I am happy to see that it has become a hallmark of Diwali celebrations in many places in the community.

We called it an Open-House Diwali to mimic the Diwali I remembered from my childhood where guests whizzed in and out of our house through out the day. Every year, we would pick the Saturday closest to the Diwali day and hold an open house from 2 pm onwards. We schedule every hour with an activity that children can enjoy and is associated with Diwali. In the invitation that we send out a few weeks before the open house, we would list all the activities so guests knew ahead of time and can pick and chose what part of the open house to participate in. Typically we included rangoli making on wood planks that can be taken home once done, clay pot Diya decorating, candle making, henna design etc. We would provide all the material needed so guests did not have to worry about bringing anything. For first two hours, we would schedule activities that required creativity and ice breaking with other guests while Diwali music played in the background. These activities usually followed a sit-down and calm-down kind of activity that often included story telling or talking about Diwali or playing antakshari. The highlight of the day was aarti and dinner, which is when more adults joined us.

Guests chose to come and go as they pleased and decided to participate in the activity that appealed to their children’s mood and style. We suggested each guest to bring a traditional diwali dish made in their homes to share with others and to bring a few copies of that recipe so that who ever enjoyed the dish can take the recipe along for future use. The evening would end with light music.

During next ten years, we improvised on this basic theme of Diwali celebrations in which we started including simple recipes cooked by kids, a huge “community- rangoli” where any one can sit down, fill in some colors and move on, unannounced dress contest where the best dressed person got a special prize etc.

Though this Diwali open house started as a small gathering of close friends in our home, soon the word spread and we were delighted to see it grow exponentially where we had to rent a hall. The best part was that many people came forward to not only join but to help it make a success and my children still have fond memories of those diwali days.

Happy Diwali to all!

A big Dhanyavaad to our Diwali Dhamaka sponsor

Filed under: Festivals — hindumommy @ 4:11 pm

Meenal Pandya the author of several Indian and children’s books has kindly sponsored this year’s Diwali Dhamaka.

 indianparentingbook.jpg

Some of her books are

Here Comes Diwali ! The Festival Of Lights

Pick a Pretty Indian Name For Your Baby

Vivah : Design a Perfect Hindu Wedding

Here Comes Holi, The Festival Of Colors

Soor Suman : Traditional Gujarati Wedding Songs

The Indian Parenting Book  

For more information, please visit her website at MeeRa Publications (Bringing You Closer to your culture – every day!)

Thank you Meenal Pandya-ji !

More economic growth in India = more gifts for kids

Filed under: Festivals,Hinduism,India — hindumommy @ 12:58 pm

Indian children are reaping the benefits of economic growth – especially those who are born to the country’s fast-growing middle classes.

It is estimated that about 200 million people now make up the middle classes in India.

Indian parents are feeling far more generous and want to spend more of their rising salaries on their kids.

Spending has become fashionable and is driving up sales at kids’ stores across the country. The children’s market is expected to grow by as much as 35% a year.

This is according to an article in the BBC News – “Diwali splurge reflects economic boom

I am sure most of the kids are excited about the extra gifts they shall receive this year and have already given their parents a huge list of exactly what they want for Diwali.

Getting gifts and presents is an important part of any festive tradition and the most eagerly anticipated part for all kids…..but isn’t Diwali more than just getting gifts?

According the same article children are fast becoming the influencers in an Indian family and  the Indian child is fast becoming the decision-maker in terms of purchasing in Indian families.

Let’s influence our kids to use their purchasing power for gifts for kids not as privileged as them. Especially in India, the disparity between the middle class and the bottom class is huge and seems to be growing bigger and bigger

Let’s teach our kids not just receiving but also sharing and giving so they truly understand what Diwali is all about.

October 19, 2006

Besan Laddoos (Diwali sweets)

Filed under: Festivals,Recipes — hindumommy @ 10:44 pm

 Ingredients:

2 cups gram flour (besan)
11/2 cup sugar
2 sticks on unsalted butter (ghee)
1tsp each almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts (chopped)

Method:

* In a vessel mix gram flour and ghee over low heat.
* Keep stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
* After about 20 minutes, remove from the heat and allow it to cool
* Cool thoroughly. Wait atleast 15 mins before proceeding to the next step
*Add sugar and nuts and mix thoroughly. 
* Form ping-pong size balls.
* Laddus are ready to be served.
Yummy in your tummy ! 🙂

How to make panchamrit (nectar of the gods)

Filed under: Festivals — hindumommy @ 10:36 pm

Panchamrit (panch – meaning 5 and amrit meaning nectar) is a necesary part of all devotional pujas.

It can be made with  milk, yoghurt, honey, sugar and ghee.

You can call India for free on Diwali day

Filed under: Festivals — hindumommy @ 10:28 pm

Yahoo voice is having a Diwali special where you can call any phone in India from your PC on Diwali day if you sign up.

For more details, go to http://voice.yahoo.com/diwali/

Got to get the phone numbers of all my far flung relatives ready so I can call them up for free tomorrow and win brownie points 😉

Diwali books for kids

Filed under: Books,Festivals,Hinduism — hindumommy @ 10:21 pm

 Here are some books that we read before Diwali to get our kids into a celebratory and festive mood.

1) “Lighting a Lamp: A Diwali Story”

2) “Here Comes Diwali: The Festival of Lights” by Meenal Pandya

3) “Celebrate Diwali”

4) “Diwali” by Christina Mia Gardeski

5) “Diwali” by Denise M. Jordan

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