Navratri2023 is here and the festive vibe is hard to miss. Navratri is celebrated to worship the nine divine forms of Goddess Durga. Devotees try to please their beloved deity with abundant prayers and offerings. The period of 9 days is considered to be very auspicious for Hindus. Some devotees also observe ritualistic Navratrifasts, where they eat simple, clean, vegetarian sattvik food. While some observe the fasts for all nine days, some keep them in jodas (couple), picking only two days of the nine-day long festival. There are multiple do's and don'ts that one has to keep an account of, while preparing the special vrat ka khana. One is not allowed to have any meat, eggs, grains, legumes or lentils. Vrat favourites like kuttu (buckwheat), singhara atta (water chestnut) are used as alternatives to the common wheat flour (atta), and veggies like potato and lauki dominate the curried preparations. There are many spices that you can and cannot use too. Here is a list of them.
Spices You Can Have During Navratri
Most of you would know that you cannot use the regular table salt while preparing special vrat ka khana. One is supposed to use rock salt or sendha namak; it is considered as the superior salt as it is pure and not subjected to processing. Similarly, there are a lot of spices that you cannot use. Since it is the time to eat light and cleanse yourself from within, too much spicy food can give rise to tamas guna ( attributes of chaos and destruction). According to Hindu and ancient Ayurvedic understanding, foods can be divided into three categories, depending upon their nature and the response they trigger in the body after consumption. These three categories are as follows:
1. Raajasic food
2. Taamasic food
3. Sattvik food
The word 'sattvik' comes from the word 'sattva', which means the one that is pure, natural, vital, energetic and clean. Vegetables like bottle gourd and pumpkin are sattvik vegetables that you can enjoy during the fasts. Similarly, there are many subtle spices that you can have during Navratri vrat too. Here is a list.
6. Black peppercorn
7. Dry pomegranate seeds
Spices You Cannot Have During Navratri:
1. Asafoetida (hing)
2. Turmeric (haldi)
4. Fenugreek seeds(methidana)
5. Garam Masala
6. Dhania (coriander)
Some people also use fresh coriander leaves, red chili powder, dry mango powder, chaat masala (especially with fruits) while some may not use them. A lot depends on the devotee's beliefs and family traditions.
Here's wishing you all a very Happy Navratri!