Friday, October 8, 2010

October Trivia

Day after tomorrow is 10th October. Or 10.10.10, a date that comes once in 1000 years.  Also this year October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays, which happens once in 923 years! This prompted me to give the month of October a little more attention and this is what I discovered.

October is the 10th month of the Gregorian calendar and received its name from the Latin word “octo” meaning eight, because in the original Roman calendar it was the eight month. It has been the 10th month ever since the New Year’s Day was moved from March to January.

 John Keats’s famous poem “To Autumn” reminds us that October is commonly associated with the season of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and Spring in the Southern hemisphere.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
    With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, 
    And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
        To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
        For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells...........

In India, the month of October is synonyms with Gandhi Jayanti

For  2 October is the birthday of the noble soul M K Gandhi , the Father of the nation and affectionately referred to by his fellow countrymen as “Bapu”.

On this day the President  Prime Minister and other political leaders of our country pay floral tributes to Gandhiji at Raj Ghat , the memorial place of Gandhiji.  It is a National holiday but there are cultural programmes in all parts of the country.   School children dress up as Gandhi and enact plays. His favorite songs…. Raghupati raghav raja ram… vaishno jan ko tene kahiye… are sung all over the country.  His policy of ahinsa or Non violence is especially meaningful today in times of the looming threat by terrorists and 2 October is celebrated as International Day of Non violence.

During October although color change in leaves occur wherever decidous trees are formed, colored autumn foliage is most famously noted in three regions of the world  -  most of Canada and US and Eastern  Asia and Europe. In India we have the famous Chinar trees in Srinagar.

The leaves of Chinar change many colors before they fall.  The leaves which are deep green in color turn slightly reddish and then turn crimson red before thy turn brown and fall from the branch. Another highlight of visiting Srinagar in  October is the saffron fields of Pampore.

Thanksgiving, A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest is celebrated in Canada on the second  Monday of the month.

Halloween is celebrated on the last night of October, with children dressing up in masks and costumes, going door to door asking for a treat.

October is also the National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

So on 10th October be a part of history in the making of a thousand years!


Navratri literally means "Nine days".  It is one of the most looked forward festivals of India  which is celebrated twice a year, once in the beginning of the  summer and  again at the onset of winter. the one at the onset of winter marks the beginning of the festive season whereby after the nine days of worshiping Ma Durga, the tenth day culminates in Dussehra.  And then come Karvachauth and Diwali.

The dates of the festival are determined according to the Lunar calendar. In the first three  days the Goddess Durga is worshiped.. Durga literally means removal of miseries of life.  Durga is also referred to as Devi ( Goddess) and Shakti (energy). She is worshiped for the first three days to destroy all our impurities and defects.

The next three days goddess is worshiped as Lakshmi who bestows wealth on her devotees.

The final three days is spent worshiping Goddess of wisdom, Saraswati.  In order to live a happy life  we need blessings of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati., hence the worship of nine days.

Navratri is celebrated in different ways in India. In the North people keep fast. In North people worship  Goddess as Sheranwali Maa whose shrine is in Vaishno Devi near Katra  in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.  And during this times Jagran and Mata ki Chowki are kept by people.  In Jagran there whole night is spent singing songs of Mata while in Chowki the programme is for  about three  hours .

The markets sell every item needed in the pooja of  Mata.  from red chunri to special food  to be eaten during fast.  Kuttu and Singhada atta (flour)  are used to make roti and eaten with aloo ki sabzi or dahi. Popular food chains Nirulas  and Haldirams  bring out special thalis for people keeping the fast. during the nine days pious

 Hindus do not eat eggs and non vegetarian food.

On the eight day is Ashtami.  On this day women cook poori,  kaale chane (black grams) and halwa ( a sweet dish made of semolina) and invite young girls to their homes .   These young girls are seen as manifestation of Mata and they r given the food and a gift items which could be anything from a decorative plate, a lunch box, chunri, bangles etc. Some observe the same ritual on the ninth day the Navami.

Another ritual in the North is sowing of jaun seeds.  Jaun seeds are sowed is special clay pots that are available in the market during this time .  It is believed that the growth of the shoots  during the nine days determines the extent of prosperity Mata will bestow on her devotee.

In West Bengal the nine days are celebrated as Durga Pooja. 

 In every  area tents are erected... known as pandals with exquisitely  crafted and decorated  life size clay idols of Godddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahisasura are set up in  pandals.  

In Gujarat, Navratri is celebrated as Garba and Dandiya.

  Women men and children wear special ethnic wear and play the Dandiya , a dance with sticks.  In Mumbai during the Navratri festival Bollywood celebrities make and appearance in different areas add  to the festivities.

These nine days are always an onset to the biggest Indian festival Deepawali, the festival of Lights.

Happy Navratri to all. Jai Mata Di!