We discussed in my previous article “What has your jewellery got to do with your wellness? and “Mantras for your Daily Wellness” that the Indian Vedic religion and science are inseparable! The basis of the Vedic religion is a philosophy which aims at achieving the ultimate goal of happiness, peace and harmony for us human beings.
The rituals & traditions that we’ve been following are the means of achieving these goals. These rituals and traditions in the form of day to day activities, festivals, prayers, mantras, chants & jewellery are all linked to science.
One such tradition is the variety of festivals celebrated in India. Festivals not only bring the joy of celebration and togetherness but also there is lot more science to it. Right from the time of year when a certain festival is celebrated to the kind of food we have during it, the festivals are synchronised with the religious, social and economic patterns of our country.
India being an agricultural economy with around 60–70% of Indian population (directly or indirectly) depending upon agriculture sector, our festivals resonate with cropping patterns of the Country. They are not religious alone, they are intertwined with cultural and social matrix where every caste has their place of importance and share.
Coming to the wellness part, let us see how these festivals contribute to our wellness.
The first festival of the year, Makar Sankranti when the Summer solstice in Northern hemisphere. This is biggest harvest festival and kites are flown in sky as the sky is clear, gentle breezy. We distribute til – gul laddus i.e., sweets made of jaggery and sesame seeds. This is so scientific, at the end of the winter season when the body has burnt lot of lubrication and energy due to cold season we eat these sweets which provide with oils and heat!
Then comes Holi, the onset of spring season, where we match our vibes with the new growth, flowers and fruits growing on trees by playing colours. We eat heavy gram sweets to energise our bodies for upcoming summer season. Then the Gudi Padva, firstreaping of the year, the reaping of rabbi crops. Gudi padva is marked as beginning of new Hindu year calender. People start their year by eating bitter leaves of neem trees to mark their acceptance of small bitter moments and they eat sweets to rejoice the new year. Not to forget neem leaves have got high medicinal properties. The food made is a four square thali full of protiens and carbohydrates.
Towards the end of rainy season, there is the Shravan month where people keeps fasts, avoid non-vegetarian food etc. Reason it’s the breeding season of animals so we don’t kill them so that ecological balance is kept. Also, human metabolism is at the weak point of the year hence avoid heavy foods!
Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival wherein the Lord Ganesha is worshipped with full pompous celebration for 10 days. Many types of wild leaves are used for the Puja, if deeply observed we can see that the leaves like Durva, Aghada, Parijat etc are medicinal which can be used to for curing many seasonal illness which we have in rainy season.
Dusshera also known as Vijyadashami , celebrated after the Navratri of GoddessDurga, is a symbolization of the victory of good over bad. The effigy of Raavana is a symbol of the Kleshas (vices of human mind)
Basically, a message to people to detoxicate their minds and hearts, as they burn the effigy of Raavana at the hands of Lord Rama.
The biggest festival Diwali which is celebrated on the onset of winter involves Abhyanga snaan (oil massage to the body and then bath!) Its extremely beneficial for keeping skin hydrated, moisturised and the joints lubricated. A plate full of deep fried food and sweets made in desi-ghee to serve the same purpose again, plus considering the fact that we have great metabolism capacity in winter season.
So guys, go back to your roots, seek the logic and experience the magic. Do not denounce festivals, remove the adulteration in the rituals and follow the underlying philosophy.
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