Monday, November 12, 2012

A tradition of 14 lights


Unlike most North Indians, Deepawali in Bengal is more associated with Kali Pujo. While in the north of India Godess Lashmi is worshiped, in Bengal it is time to worship Kali, another form of Durga. Like in most parts of India and its different intricacies, there are certain beautiful traditions that are followed today, the day just before Diwali.

The tradition I am talking about is a somewhat forgotten one in most households, other than some parts and some homes like mine, where it has been a ritual since childhood. Religious rituals are often meaningless to me, but some rituals and traditions do have deeper meanings than the obvious.

In many households in Bengal( & perhaps elsewhere, in different ways), people will observe a ritual known as 'Choddo Bati', which literally translates to 14 lights. This ritual is observed to show respect and homage to 14 previous generations of your ancestors, who are otherwise hardly ever remembered. 14 diyas( oil lights) are traditionally floated in the water and a small prayer offered by all family members towards the evening. The day also sees many Bengalis having a Vegetarian diet, which is actually followed by eating of something called 'Choddo Shag', which is basically having 14 varieties of leafy vegetables of every kind. Till today in many parts of Kolkata, you will see 'Choddo Shag' sold, where a bundle is made by the shopkeeper including 14 varieties of leaves to be eaten on this day.

Somehow, remembering one's ancestors with this simple ritual makes a lot of sense to me.



(Image courtesy Google Images)

8 comments:

Meenakshi Malhotra said...

different traditions, different rituals, one great festival. Happy Diwali!

Meenakshi Malhotra said...

different traditions, different rituals, one great festival. Happy Diwali!

S.V.SAIBABA said...

Thank you for this information about the tradition in Wsst Bengal.

Wishing you Happy Diwali(Kali pooja for you)

S.V.SAIBABA said...

Thank you for this information about the tradition in Wsst Bengal.

Wishing you Happy Diwali(Kali pooja for you)

jahid said...

Nice post.I am little weak in history but i think 14 generation back would be some pre Mughal era. Just wondering how and where my ancestors lived? :)

Satish Mutatkar said...

Informative and Interesting. Liked a lot!

Sriram said...

Most rituals have some basis in history but over time the real reasons have been lost and in its place stand rules and regulations that we have been ordered to follow and hence the tradition dies because we rarely know the reasons for their creation in the first place.

Unless we go back to the basics and learn the reasons, the acts and rituals will be empty with no real meaning and will slowly go on to be extinct.

Shiju Sugunan said...

Those are some information I would never have known. Happy diwali to you and yours.:)