Few people keep a fast (without food and water) on this day. But at my home, we used to eat a light fasting lunch. The main celebrations start in the night. At our native, this pooja is performed only in few houses and in temples. Men gather at a place to do the pooja.
The poojari (called as ‘bhatmam’ in Konkani) goes to these places and lends them small saligram and a statue of Bala-Krishna (child krishna, The statue looks similar to the above picture). Bhatmam does the initial pooja to both saligram and statue and prepares the ‘Panchamrit/panchamritam’, offering prepared by mixing ‘panch’ – 5, amrit – immortal nectar. The main ingredients here are milk, sugar, yogurt(curd), honey and jaggery (molasses).
Then the men at home/temple carry on with the remaining procedures. They decorate god with lotus and other flowers. Then one of the men take the lead and read 1000 names of lord Krishna (Vishnu sahasranama), others follow him, with each name, men offer one tulsi dala (two leaves connected together) to lord. After 500 names one pooja is performed and after all the names are chanted, a offering of food followed with the main pooja is performed. So at the end of the pooja, the small statue of krishna would be completely covered with tulsi leaves and it won’t be visible from outside. The whole procedure starts around 8 in the night and goes on for around 2 hours (depending on the speed with which men chant the names). Usually at the final pooja, the arrangement looks like this (picture was taken during Janmashtami 2005 at my native)
The offering to god on this occasion are very simple, but we make a variety of dishes. They include
– Cashewnut laddoos (these days these are replaced by sesame laddoos with few roasted cashewnuts)
– Layya pitto (Layyi or layya is a kind of unsalted popcorn. Layyi pitto is coarsely powdered popcorn. This powder is mixed well with coconut and jaggery, cardamom, ghee and offered to god)
– Rosa phovu (Poha soaked in coconut milk, jaggery and cardamom powder)
– Dhaya phovu (Poha soaked in curd/yogurt and sugar)
– Cucumber pieces or Taushe hulel
– GoDa panchkajjaya (Procedure is given below. GoD meaning jaggery in Konkani)
Following picture was taken during Janmashtami 2005. In the top vessel-layya pitto, left-sesame laddoos, bottom-panchakajjaya, right-cucumber pieces can be seen.
So when we were kids, we used to sit patiently and eat this ‘prasad/prasadam’. Mom would make a simple dinner of rice, daali thoy and we would be more than happy to eat dinner along with her pickles and taushe hulel.The next day of Janmashtami is also special. I would write more about it tomorrow.
Dry roast dalia splits(hurikadale) and coarsely powder them.
Wash sesame seeds and dry roast them (till they split open).
Mix molasses and coconut (by hand). Add the dalia powder, sesame seeds, cardamom and ghee to it and mix well.