I haven’ shared much about Hindu festivals here yet. However, when I encounter something of significance that is food related, it is always worth sharing. As you know, most everything I write about here always ties back to food in some way or the other. I don’t know how I missed the colorful Hindu religion all this time.
Today, Hindus around the world are celebrating Ganesha Chaturthi, as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the destroyer of obstacles. Observed during the Hindu month of Bhadra, which is around mid-August to mid-September, it lasts for 10 days, ending on the tenth day which is called Ananta Chaturdashi.
This year, it all begins, today, on September 17th 2015 when Ganesha idols are brought home and installed with great ceremony, called sthapna, on a decorated platform. The idol is offered pure water along with libations such as honey and milk. A puja, which is the Hindu prayer sermon, is performed twice a day until the idol leaves the home.
The festival was designed to teach about life. You celebrate someone coming into your life, symbolized by your treatment of the Ganesha idol as a beloved guest, feeding him his favorite food, inviting people to see him, and decorating the house. Then, with fond memories, you let the idol go with a promise of the next year. During this celebration, food is of course a dominant part as you feed the idol and your guests. Ganesh Chaturthi is a pretty wonderful time for epicureans and what I found noteworthy are some of the elaborate Ganesha idols made purely from food. Here they are:
Love this pretty Ganesha from Chitra’s Food Book made from kozhukattai dough, which is a rice flour.
I found the gold gilded chocolate Ganesha from Alma Chocolates in Portland, Oregon the most elegant and classic in appearance.
The Ganesha made with Turmeric connects back to the story of Ganesha and is the traditional way, as well as the most ecofriendly. The use of edible items in making the idol is also considered to be the best way to receive God’s blessings.