by Shivani Khanna
Navratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity ‘Durga’. The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped.
Navratri is celebrated in the beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn which are considered to be important junctions of climatic and solar influences. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother Durga. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar.
The Navratri abstinence or Vrat is observed from the first day to the ninth day. Most people confine themselves to fruit during the nine days/nights. Other devotees take a single meal during the day/night, and non-vegetarian food is avoided. Also, the consumption of onion and garlic is avoided for the entire duration of Navaratri. ~ Wikipedia
Ever since my childhood, I’ve looked forward to the festival of Navratri. As a child I was not aware of the significance of the festival. It was the delicious food prepared by my mother during the festival that was the main appeal. Till date I don’t know why its called fasting. Most dishes are deep fried. Other dishes which include fruit, sabudana and vegetables are tasteful and full of flavour. The dishes I prepare today are mostly what my mother cooks. A few dishes I have learnt from neighbours and the extended family.
In my family we eat the ‘falhar’ or fasting food for the first seven days. On ‘Ahstmi’ or the eighth day, we do the pooja and have Sooji Halwa, Kale Chane and Puris for ‘parsad’.
Here I share some of the recipes that I cook for the Navratri fast at home. My mother offers the first thali as ‘bhog’ or as food to the Gods. The one thing that I remember most is that she would always place one bowl of drinking water with leaves of Tulsi in it. Just as we drink water with our food, so do the Gods and that is what I do even today. I have posted enough dishes to see any one through the seven days.
Please click on the name of the dish you want to view to be taken to the recipe to that dish.