I say, "Turmeric" you say "______________"
Last week, at Zizira, we sort of played this game. Suddenly we were associating the word Turmeric with Festival!
If you're a health-conscious turmeric lover, you might have other word associations :-)
Our conversation prompted me to do some digging.
I soon discovered one of the most outrageous Haldi Festivals of India. It seems to have started from an auspicious ceremony for the folk deity of the Deccan Plateau named Khandoba. This deity goes by many other names. The history behind this diety's legend seems fascinating. Instead of trying to explain the history, read Dr. Prachi Moghe excellent and short article "Touch of Turmeric"
After seeing this photo, I came across more stories about the Bhandara Haldi Festival held in Jejuri Maharashtra. From my superficial reading, it seems that Turmeric is just as much the "star" of the Festival as Lord Khandoba.
Look at these photos. Isn't it freeing to see the people "casting their gold" to their deity in order to seek continued blessing in return?
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Sushmita Sengupta of NDTV writes in her article: Bhandara Festival: The Great Turmeric or Haldi Festival Of Maharashtra You Must Know About:
"For the devotees of Jejuri, turmeric signifies gold. Throwing turmeric around symbolizes the gold and riches that Lord Khandoba should bless them with. Many also believe that the tradition emerged from the old Indian tradition of applying turmeric to the bride and groom on the eve of their wedding day as the festival celebrates the wedding ritual and great union of Lord Khandoba and his wife Malsha."
We can definitely see the connection of Haldi Ceremonies with the traditions of this Turmeric Festival. Bhandara is a small scale, close-second, to the ultimate festival of colours. Holi has now become a global phenomenon where multiple colours are thrown in the air and upon people. Much of its spiritual intent is forgotten. None the less, this incredible festival of colour is unifying people in celebration and pleasure. Bhandara, unlike Holi, focuses on one colour — the deep golden colour of turmeric. I hope to visit Jejuri one day and experience this festive scene.
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Jejuri, Maharashtra. The Jejuri Municipal Council has a population of 14,500 as of 2011
Fly into Pune, Maharashtra. You can take a 1 hour expresss train to Jejuri or the slow 2 hour Sahyadri Express.
"There is always a "cloud of gold" in the air because the Festival can happen at any time. Sonyachi Jejuri Festival has to be the New Moon day fallowing on a Monday. And that can happen many times a year and at any time of the year. Best to track the dates of the Somvati Amavasya."
Until then, we at Zizira, have a dream to host The Worlds Best Turmeric Festival in Meghalaya. We won't be celebrating Lord Khandoba, instead, we will be celebrating the amazing plant power of Lakadong Turmeric.
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