Shraavan Introduction Shravan, as most Hindus know, is one of the most auspicious months in the Hindu calendar. Shravan sets in when the Sun enters the zodiac Leo. At this time, the Shravan nakshatra governs the sky and it is also the birth star of Lord Vishnu. In this month, Lord Shiva or Mahadev is worshiped and fasts are observed on Mondays to appease him. As per the Indian Civil Calendar, Shravan is the fifth month of the Indian almanac and is marked by many festivals. As per the solar calendar, Shravan is the fourth month of the religious calendar. As mentioned above, the month is observed by devout Hindus all across the country and India being a diverse country of cultures, beliefs and traditions, it is interesting to know the many different facets of Shravan. In this context, it could be amusing for readers to know that in Maharashtra, Shravan begins after Gataari Amavasya, the New Moon Day. Gataari is the last day of the month of Ashaadh as per Marathi panchang (almanac). The way it is celebrated is by indulging in non-veg food and drinks heavily. This is so because, in Shravan, one is supposed to abstain from non-veg and alcohol for 40 days. It is expected that one should observe the holy month by fasting, praying and in general, devoting time to spiritual activities as per traditions. Why is it called Shravan? Shravan gets its name from the celestial phenomenon of the Full Moon occurring against the Shravan star. This year, Shravan begins on 14 July 2022. …. and it is different in the Rest of India and the North India Interestingly, the onset of Shravan is different in the rest of India from that in North India. In the former it is 15 days after the start in north India. While in the major northern, north-western, central and eastern states of India such as Bihar, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, Shravan starts first as they follow the Purnimant calendar. The Amanta calendar is followed by the rest of India such as by those in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa. Importance of Shravan Somvaar and Shukrawar Every day in Shravan is dedicated to a Hindu deity. Even as the whole of Shravan month is auspicious, there are some days which are very important such as Shraavan Somvaar and Shravan Shukrawaar. Shravan Somvaar is the day when Lord Shiva is worshipped. Shiva devotees fast, chant, visit Shiva temple, organise abhisheks and do charity. Unmarried girls fast on Mondays for 16 days, called Solaah Somwaar to get a desired partner. Married women too fast on this day for a happy married life. In Maharashtra, Shraavan Shukrawaar is devoted to Lakshmi and Tulsi. Shravan & Food Shravan is marked by austerity in terms of the foods that can be consumed. Traditionally or as per Ayurveda, onion, garlic, leafy vegetables and of course meat are to be avoided. Also, factors like digestive stress that the rainy season brings is another factor. It is a month of physical and spiritual revival that bestows energy and clarity owing to the light Saatvik food consumed during the month. So the emphasis is on foods such as cereals, pulses and lentils along with cooking foods such as root vegetables, red chillies, and other seeds. Again, there is a stark difference as to what foods are permissible among the various communities in India. Broadly, the following recipes are definitely consumed by the devout. Sabudana Khichdi & Aloo Sabudana ki Tikki Sabudana Khichdi and aloo sabudana tikki are synonymous with fasting and immensely popular among the devout. One of the easiest foods you can make for fasts that are filling too. Vrat ki Kachori The humble potato with a sweet-spicy coconut filling. Close to fasting waale snack/chaat. This gives a feel of snacking while keeping the essence of the fast intact. Singhara Atta ke Pakode Potato vadas coated in singhara flour and deep fried. A snack or meal in itself, these vrat ke pakode are bites of fasting indulgence. Baadaam Doodh The simple goodness of flavoured milk is unbeatable. Hot or cold, flavoured milk is always a great option. Cold baadaam milk helps keep the stomach calm too. Packed with almonds, the milk is filling and nourishing. Craving the staple sago, but looking to give it a twist ? Here’s what you can do. Mango Sago Pudding Do make this fruity pudding when it is the mango season. Alternatively, you can store the mango pulp or pick a packet from frozen foods. Nariyal Aur Sabudane Ki Kheer A delicious kheer of sabudana (sago) and cream of tender coconut is just a bit of sweet spiritual indulgence what you need to end that intense fast on a sweet note. With coconut flesh in it and the sweetness of the jaggery, with the flavour of elaichi is Nirvana ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qESv6pvMIrs …. Time to Celebrate Too …. Apart from the austerity rituals that the devout follow, celebrations are not complete without food. Also, it is interesting that the different corners of the country cook different delicacies for the same festival. As this is the first month after a period of no major festival after Holi, the celebration becomes even more joyous. Across the country, many such occasions are celebrated in this month. Here are some of them. Hariyali Teej Hariyali Teej is the first festival that falls in this auspicious month and celebrates the arrival of monsoon and worship of Goddess Paravati who observed this fast in order to marry Lord Shiva. This festival is celebrated by the women community of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh. Some popular delicacies on this occasion are, ghewar, kheer, thekwa, gujiya, dal ki kachori, daal bati choorma and bedmi puri aur raseele aloo among others from across the various parts of the country. Nag Panchami - Nag Panchami is celebrated across India and various rituals mark this occasion. The serpent deity is worshiped by offering, milk, flowers, incense, lamps and even sacrifices. Delicacies that mark this event in Maharashtra are, Puranache Dind, Kaanole, Ravyachi (suji) Kheer, patholi, halbai, tambittu unde, ellu unde and hurigadale unde in Karnataka. Narali Purnima - Narali Purnima is marked by the occurrence of the Full Moon. It is celebrated in Maharashtra with ‘Narali Bhaat’ as a special, sweet rice-coconut delicacy prepared on this day. Other coconut-based dishes include coconut barfi, karanjee, and coconut-rava ladoos among others. Raksha Bandhan - Another important festival of Shravan. Talking about brother-sister bonding, there are an infinite number of options in sweets made or bought on this day. It could be as simple as Gulab Jamun, Kheer/Payasam, mawa/kopra Gujiya, Kala Jamun, Shrikhand, Sandesh, or the all-time favourite Kaju Katli, Pedas, Motichoor Laddoo, Rasmalai and Chamcham among others. Krishna Janmashtami - The birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated by making dairy-based offerings or bhog to the Supreme Lord. Some such naivedyam sweets are, Taler Bora and Maakhan Mishri (east), Kheer and Panjiri (north), Gopalkaala (western) and Kai Murukku, Sweet Aval, Appam, Thattai (south). Pola - The auspicious month concludes with Pola, that is celebrated in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, where the bull and oxen are worshiped and delicacies offered to them as a mark of thanksgiving for their service. Chaturmaas Shravan is also the first month of Chaturmas, a four-month period beginning in the said month that goes up to the month of Kartik. It starts from the Ekadashi Tithi of Ashadh Shukla, also called Devshyani Ekadashi as Lord Vishnu goes to sleep and hence, auspicious functions such as ring ceremonies, marriages, child naming and thread ceremony among others are not conducted during this month. Wish You All a Spiritual Month Ahead ! May the Month Ahead Bestow Divine Blessings on You All !