Tag Archives: gujarat

Shubho Mohaloya (Happy Mahalaya)

Jai Ma Durga

Jai Ma Durga

Yesterday night, before going to sleep, I told my mother to wake me up before 5:30am. It was Mohaloya, the first day of Navratri. As a school girl this used to be a yearly ritual. We used to get up early and watch the Mohaloya presentation. Every year the story of Goddess Durga destroying the evil Mahishasur was presented with songs, dance and chandipath. It used to begin at 5:30 am and get over by 7:00 am. I always felt watching the programme made a pious start of the day.

The most amazing part was the Mohaloya Chandipath recited by Birendra Krishna Bhadra. His recitation is so unique that even today the same recitation is played in all the channels. All the songs of the program made me feel that festivity is in the air. I was brought up in Gujarat in western part of India. The festival of Garba begins from Mohaloya and continues for the next 9 days. In east of India, today is the day when the sculptors paint the eyes of the Goddess Durga. The markets are flooded with traditional clothes of various designs. The beating of the dhak(traditional drums) would give a feeling of the arrival of good times when we would be with friends and family. The tension of studies would be placed aside for a while. It would seem as if festivity is in the air.

In my school days it was only national television Doordarshan. Today different channels have different representations, each leaving its own signature on the event. I would like to show this to all the people who say culture has gone for a toss. Even today, entire families get up and watch the mohaloya presentation. The demand is so much that all the channels take the initiative to create their unique presentations, thus generating opportunities for creativity. With this year’s dhak I want to wish every one a Happy Mohaloya.

A colorful sky

Today is 14th january. This day is celebrated as Makarsankranti/pongal/Uttarayan in India. This is the first festival of the year and probably the only festival to have a fixed date every year. I was brought up in Gujarat and loved the celebration of Uttarayan. Even in the chilling january, people used to go to terraces or playgrounds and fly kites. This used to be a whole day activity. People also take their music systems with themselves thus enjoy music with flying kite. The sky seems to be a collage of different colored kites. People just love the sun in the chilling winter. This combination seems to add extra energy in them. We used to meet up our entire neighbourhood on their respective terraces.

Festival also implies eating delicious meals. Jaggery has a special place in most of the dishes of Makarsankranth. In western India its gudpoli and chikki wherease in eastern India its pitha. My mother used to make pitha and thus we used to have a nice exercise of climbing up the stairs to the terrace for flying kites and then climbing down the stairs to eat pitha. The preparation has to be made a day before. A holiday is declared in most of the organizations.

Pitha

Another kind of pitha

Today special kite flying competitions and fairs are held. Shops are filled with readymade sweets but what was made by mothers and grandmothers still has its special place in my heart and mind.

Happy MakarSankranthi
Happy Uttarayan
Happy Pongal