For some reason this year more than others,I have looked forward to this beautiful month of prayer and fasting.I guess as one gets old we realise what brings us comfort and strenght and often it is religion and prayer.The last few years have been filled with so many tough lessons and blessings.
Every religion has periods where their followers fast and pray.In my Hindu culture we have several days spread out throughout the year.The holy month of Purtassi is very important to all Telegu and Tamil Hindus.I recall even as a little child observing the fast and all the rituals that go with it.I belong to a family who practise their religion and take their prayers and fasting very seriously.
Often I hear people complaining about difficult it is to fast and how bored they are of eating vegetables.This got me thinking about the true meaning of fasting.When one fasts for Purtassi they give up eating meat products and abstain from alcohol.To be honest to me food is food and I am grateful that I have a meal to eat each day.Since I consider myself a Domestic Goddess,I often plan our family meals and cook them.During Purtassi every day either mum or myself have cooked interesting and very tasty meals.I have been experimenting and if you follow my blog you would see some of my dishes.
Eating vegetarian meals have several health benefits to the body and is an excellent way to cut down on junk/takeout foods.A large variety of vitamins and minerals are obtained from fresh fruit and vegetables.The use of alternative forms of protein from beans to legumes and soya are great additions to the diet.To me I can personally feel the health benefits of fasting and this has encouraged me to increase my vegetable intake.With the new craze of detox smoothies and raw fruit and vegetable juices makes one realise the magical health benefits these fruit and vegetable hold.
I never thought I would become the person who looks at food labels. But during Purtassi I have and I rather not eat something if I am unsure if it contains eggs.It is important to understand the food we put into our bodies.
So today we will be performing our annual Purtassi prayer in our home.The prayer will be done on a smaller scale than normal due to 3 close family deaths in the last 11 months.Normally for this prayer our home is filled with lots of family especially the old folk who come over to stay a few days before.My gran and I abstain from eating prepared meals before the prayer instead we have milk , water and fruit.We only eat cooked foods once we have performed our rituals.
Our day will start very early in preparation of the prayer.I bought 2 awesome music cds especially for this prayer with beautiful devotional songs on them.These will be played while we prepare for the 3pm prayer.From a young age I have been helping so I have an idea of how things will be done.
Three years ago,I bought a gorgeous statue of Lord Perumalsami who is worshipped during this period of Purtassi.After consulting a Priest I was told that during this month I would need perform certain rituals for my statue.The rituals include giving Lord Perumalsami a bath in milk, water,sourmilk,honey,ash and rosewater before observing the prayer in our home.I take my rituals very seriously and perform them with respect and devotion to the Lord.
Offerings of a sweetened rice made with butter,milk and sugar will be made as well as boiled chickpeas,a mix vegetable curry,powdered white rice balls will be made with sugar,butter and coconut.All these offerings will need to be ready by 3pm and are offered to Lord Perumalsami on a banana leaf in our prayer alter at home.After the prayer we eat and share all the yummy goodies that were prepared with our friends and family.
This year more than ever I am loving every minute of Purtassi.I am using this time to reconnect with my maker and be a better human.I hope someday I will be able to share this fast and ritual with my children and in my own home perform this annual Purtassi Prayer with my family.
Do you fast in your religion?How is Purtassi going for you?
Goinda ! Goinda ! Govinda ( the traditional chants said during Purtassi.)I wish all my Hindu followers and their families a blessed fast.