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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Dec
25
2009
Jolly Jingles
Author: Gnaana

These 2 videos deserve a chuckle.  Happy Holidays!

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Dec
22
2009

Image by www.mangogirlpower.com

(Image courtesy of www.mangopowergirl.com)

My family usually prefers the savory over the sweet, but there’s something about the holidays that makes me want to resurrect those cookie cutters.  Of course plain old sugar cookies won’t cut it for my little gastronomes, so I went a-surfing and found this delicious recipe for Saffron Cardamom Shortbread Cookies (thanks MangoPowerGirl ). But Caveat Baker – the aromas from these cookies will transport you to the lush, green cardamom fields of India, so you may want to build-in some reminiscing time.

Here’s the link to the recipe.  The only modifications we made were to use 1 1/2 sticks of butter (instead of 2), white wheat flour and to add 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground cardamom to the cookie dough itself.

Enjoy!

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Dec
15
2009
A Tale of Two Colors
Author: Gnaana

Red and green.  They’re the infamous colours of Christmas, of course.  But this colour combination is also widely used in traditional Indian jewelry.  I remember many jewelry-shopping trips in India when I rejected necklaces or bangle sets because they were “too Christmasy” – leaving my relatives perplexed and shopkeepers muttering under their breath.

So all the red and green these days leaves me wondering: why are these colours so celebrated in India?  The answer takes us back to Mughal times and the tradition of Meenakari jewelry-making.

The art of decorating metal with enamel is known as Meenakari (or “Meena work”)  – a craft which originated in Persia and was first introduced to India by the Mughals in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan.  It is used in jewelry-making, as well as crafting gift boxes and other metal furnishings.  The technique requires highly-skilled artisan to engrave intricate designs on metal and then hand-paint liquid enamel within the designs, which then harden when heated.  Talk about attention to detail!

And where did the red and the green come in?  Well, along with white, they’re described as “traditional Mughal colours” – colors that integrated the rubies, emeralds diamonds and pearls found in India.  Also, South Indian temple jewelry that was offered to the Gods was made with red and green semi-precious stones – thereby elevating them to the status of auspicious colors.

So this Christmas, as you speed past shimmering hues of red and green, you’ll know that even in ancient India these colours were celebrated as being festive, divine and just darn beautiful!

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Dec
7
2009

Have you heard of the Pancha Ganapati fesitval?  If you’re a Hindu tormented by the “December Dilemma” – you know, whether to ignore Christmas (ergo risking social pariah status for you and your kids) or to celebrate a toned-down version (after all, even the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that Christmas has many secular elements) – then read on.

The Pancha Ganapati festival is being touted by interfaith organizations as the “Hindu replacement for Christmas.”  This 5-day festival (which conveniently runs from December 21-25 of every year), invokes the colours of Lord Ganesha’s 5 shaktis (powers) – a sort-of Christmas-meets-Kwanzaa-meets-Hanukka.    A shrine is to be created in the main living room, which would contain a large statue or picture of Ganesha, and decorated with banana leaves, pine cones, tinsel, etc.  Then, on each of the days, children are invited to decorate Ganesha in the colour du jour and the family is to focus on a special sadhana (spiritual discipline).

Day 1 | Yellow:  Love and harmony among immediate family members
Day 2 | Blue:  Love and harmony among neighbors, relatives and close friends
Day 3 | Red:  Love and harmony among business associates and the public at large
Day 4 | Green:  Invoke the joy and harmony that comes from music, art, drama and dance
Day 5 | Orange:  Invoke the love and harmony in all three worlds (presumably the heavens, earth and the underworld)

Gifts are exchanged on each of the days, and placed under the shrine – to be opened on the 5th day.

Interesting.  So how do we come down on this holiday?  Kudos for the creation,  though we will have to do some further investigation.  But for now, let’s spread the word – Hindus do have a holiday in December.  Fa la la la la la la la OM.

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