Deep Amavasya, NOT Gatari

Deep Amavasya, NOT Gatari

It was some ten years back, when I came to Maharashtra to pursue studies.As my college session commenced in August, festivals were a talk.One new word I was made aware of, was “Gatari”.They told me , its celebrated state wide before the month of Shravan begins.

My friends and hostel wardens all were talking on what all non-veg dishes they would have (mutton biryani on the top of the list) and get soaked in alcohol.Until now I get the forwards/memes every year.

Shravan (Saavan) that usually falls in August, is the start of four months of rainy season in almost all parts of India, which is associated with greenery, worshiping and fasting.The Mondays are considered most auspicious and Lord Shiva is worshiped across India.

As this country is land of diversity, hence our calendars too have different versions.Maharashtrians, follow the calendar wherein new moon embarks the start of the month.North India, usually, would have the month started the day after Full moon.

Now, back to Gatari, taken as something to do with endless consumption of meat and alcohol till you are sloshed and do not have senses even if thrown in a gutter ???

No guys, its not the real meaning.When I was talking one of elderly today, her response was “he murkha pinarya lokani arth badlun kadhla“, roughly translated as “these stupid alcoholics changed the very meaning”.

So to your suprise the real name is Deep Amavasya or the New Moon day of lights (not to be confused with Diwali, though).

Deep Amavasya, NOT Gatari

We all know our motherland, is/was agriculture driven.Our community of farmers largely depend on monsoons for the produce.So when it would rain plenty, unlike today, for continuous four months (sanskrit : chaaturmas), the life would come to a standstill (consider it a yearly lockdown).

To certain the mental health and well being, the festivals were observed.The women would go to their parents,such that they would spend quality time with their maternal family and meet childhood friends, which was often not possible at other time of the year.The trees and mother nature was worshipped at several occasions.

In absence of electricity, the diyas (lamps) made the ceremonies gleaming and fulfilled.After all, Sun had taken planned annual leave 😉

Our ancestors thoughtfully ensured a welcoming and meaningful beginning.On the new moon day, all lamps made of copper, silver, bronze and other metals were cleaned.The cotton wicks of different types were crafted at home. Then all the diyas were decorated and lighted with oil and ghee.The festival was named Deep Amavasya.Concept of “let there be light” in the no-sunshine-grey-clouds-all over was hence restored.

Since the season wouldn’t be safe for consumption of animals, people would refrain from eating meat and eggs.Some would give up onion and garlic as well, owing to the theory that these bulbs have tamasic energies.One underlying reason could have been their limited shelf life in the rains

Now what’s in the name, Gatari????

Ok, so with some research I came to know the word was “gatahari” (in sanskrit gat : past , ahar :food).This simply concludes to give up on the food that you had and embrace the change of season in accordance with the nature.This would avoid diseases and increase immunity.

Buddies, as it may interest you to learn which snifter goes for wine and which shot would suit the tequilla you got from the duty-free shops, find some time to know the types of diyas and wicks too.

And moreover, we are already going through the unprecendented turmoil for months now, let us clean our stressed souls and light the lamp of hope for the triumph over this pandemic.

About the author: Juhi Gupte
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