My State GUJARAT
The traditional Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian and has a high nutritional value. The typical Gujarati thali consists of varied kinds of lip smacking dishes. Gujarati cuisine has so much to offer and each dish has an absolutely different cooking style. Some of the dishes are stir fry, while others are boiled. Gujarati food is more often served on a silver platter. Gujaratis use a combination of different spices and flavors to cook their meals and this is what makes their food truly exotic.
The traditional Gujarati thali mostly encompasses rotli, dal or kadhi, sabzi also known as shaak and rice. People in Gujarat eat one or the other type of curry along with rice and roti in almost every meal Gujarati dishes usually have a very subtle taste that makes it truly distinct from other Indian cuisines. Lot of emphasis is laid on maintaining hygiene while cooking. Most of the Gujarati dishes are sweet, while others have a quite larger concentration of sugar as compared to salt and spices. Sometimes, jaggery is used as an alternative to sugar.
Navratri is the most awaited, well known and oldest festival of Gujarat which attracts visitors from all across the globe. Navratri is one of the largest festivals that is celebrated all across the state. In fact, the whole of India celebrates it with extreme pomp and merriment. But if you truly want to enjoy the colors of Navratri, then visit Gujarat.
Navratri means nine nights and is celebrated for nine days before Dussehra. The Navratri at Gujarat is celebrated in honor of the Goddess Shakti to commemorate her victory over the evil spirit and for starting off the reign of peace on the earth.
Navratri at Gujarat is symbolized with colors of fun and festivity. Garba and Dandiya, the two folk dances of Gujarat have got their prominence through Navratri. People of Gujarat can be seen in their ethnic wears during Navratri. Women wear ghaghra choli while the men wear dhoti kurta. Navratri of Gujarat has an economical significance also. This festival attracts lots of tourists every year.
During the festival of Navratri at Gujarat, you can enjoy the traditional costumes, folk dance and folk music, and the traditional cuisine of Gujaratis. Moreover, Navratri brings together people from all religions who get intoxicated by the mesmerizing charm of this colorful festival. Generally, Navratri is celebrated in October when Goddess Durga is worshiped.
Holi in Gujarat is one of the festival that celebrates the vibrant spirit of the Gujarati people. Holi is a festival of color and happiness, and on this day it is a custom to resolve all differences with everybody, including your enemies.
The festival, Holi has its origin in the legend of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna used to take active part in Holi. During this festival, it is also customary to drink buttermilk, as it was the favorite drink of Lord Krishna.
On the eve of Holi, a beautiful bonfire is decorated with flowers and fruits. Many people also offer home cooked food or other edibles such as raw mangoes, coconut, corn, toys made up of sugar or khoya (a milk product) to the bonfire as their offerings to the Goddess Holika. It is also a ritual to put a vermilion mark on each other's forehead and hug each other on this day.
Later in the evening, the bonfire is lit and people dance and sing around it. Virgins from each of the Gujarati family create idols of Goddess Gauri (another name for Durga) out of the ashes and perform Gauri Puja.
The succeeding day, which is known as 'Dhuleti', is reserved for playing colors. Young boys and girls form small groups called 'tolis' and roam about in search of people who are still left to be smeared.
In fact, Gujarati Holi is famous for its certain characteristics. In Gujarat, it is customary to break earthen pots filled with buttermilk, which is tied high up on a rope on this day.
With almost 3,500 festivals celebrated in different parts of Gujarat every year, it can well be termed the 'land of festivals and fairs'. Deepavali is one of the leading festivals in Gujarat.
When: October/November. The month Asvina, in Indian calender, marks the end of the harvesting season. This month ends with Deepavali.
Duration of Deepavali of Gujarat: Four days
Facts about Deepavali in Gujarat
The first day of the festival starts with the Laxmi Puja.
The second day is celebrated as the day of casting off evils.
The third day is the actual Deepavali day. On this day, every home is illuminated and decorated with light. The literal meaning of Deepavali in Sanskrit is 'a row of lamps.' A large number of crackers are also burst.
The fourth and the last day is the New year day for the Gujaratis. On this day, the Gujaratis visit temples in colorful costumes and greet each other.
Myths about Deepavali: Lord Ram made a triumphant return to his capital Ayodhya, where he was crowned, after vanquishing Ravan and rescuing Sita. The people of Gujarat decorated their homes with lamps to mark the joyous occasion. Since then, this day is celebrated as Deepavali - the festival of lights'.
Navratri in Maharashtra
For the Maharashtrians, Navratri is an auspicious time to initiate new beginnings, buying a new home or a car. Women invite their female friends to their homes and gift them with a coconut, beetle leaves and beetle nuts. They put haldi and kumkum on the foreheads of the married women as a gesture of `Saumangalyam` (remaining the wife of her husband until her last breath). The Navratri celebrations in Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai, bear resemblance to Gujarat owing to its geographical proximity to the state. Each and every locality has its own garba and dandiya nights celebrations and the whole family drenches itself in the festive spirit.