It's Hindu nutrition time. Sharad Navratri, which ends this year on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, honors the feminine divine energy in the universe that triumphs over evil. This month, nutrition choices looms large among Sacramento's religious and non-religious celebrate the wonderful themes of "may the light be with you,” but from different perspectives. And yes, there's also some fasting, but also lots of recipes.
See, "Navratri fasting recipes." Or check out, "Navratri Special: 5 Recipes to Try This Navratri." There's also recipes from a master chef. See, "Navratri Recipes - Pankajbhadouria.com." Those who fast give up rice, wheat and lentils/legumes (known as dal) and instead may 'fast' on fruits and other snacks during the October holiday. Sacramento has so many food festivals going in October followed by World Vegan Day on November 1, 2013. And there's even a connection between food festivities and free thought. One bridges the gaps in the other by encouraging people to think critically about their health and nutrition and the world. And World Vegan Month | Facebook is celebrated each year during the entire month of November.
For example, yesterday, on Saturday October 12, 2013 the Freethinkers celebrated enlightenment and reason in Sacramento's Land Park with speakers and vendors. Each year on October 12 World Free Thought Day is celebrated. See, "Freethought Day 2013 - Oct 12, 2013." But at the same time almost all other religions also celebrate a holiday in October focusing on enlightenment and food, depending on the custom's harvest season specialties, since different growing seasons for foods occur in different climate zones. But Sacramento can handle all the specialties focused this autumn on celebrating the light within. May the light be with you.
The Muslims celebrate this year's hajj from Oct. 13th to 18th and Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى ʿīd al-aḍḥā,[pronunciation 1] "festival of the sacrifice"), also called Feast of the Sacrifice, the Major Festival, the Greater Eid, Kurban Bayram (Turkish: Kurban Bayramı; Serbo-Croat-Bosnian: kurban-bajram), Eid-e-Qurban (Persian: عید قربان) and Baqr-e Eid (Hindustani, Urdu: )بقر عید, which is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail (Ishmael) as an act of submission to God's command and his son's acceptance to being sacrificed, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a Lamb to sacrifice instead, according to Wikipedia.
So numerous people buy a lamb (or sheep, goat, or camel) and have it sacrificed. And then the lamb is divided between family, friends, and the poor. During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials, by having a lamb, sheep, camel, or goat slaughtered. The attitude is the symbolism. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. See, "Eid Al-Adha - Eid Al-Adha Festival of Sacrifice in Islam ." At the end of the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca), Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice).
One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow the creator's commands. It also symbolizes willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need.
Muslims recognize that all blessings come from one source, and those who follow the religion should open hearts and share with others. It's about making sacrifices, and is not about washing away sins with blood, and not about putting sins on an animal and sacrificing it. It's about the attitude of piety, say the experts on the practice.
Letting in the light within could also celebrate lightening up on food
Now, as a vegan over here in this family, you never know when you're going to be reincarnated as that animal who wants to live as much as anyone else. Ask yourself, is it a celebration for the lamb? Look into the animal's eyes and you'll see intelligence, life that wants to go on, and the spark of light. So this family's vegan philosophy is don't eat meat, and be kind to all creatures, after all, animals have rights, right? You also could write about how life wants to move and expand like a garden.
Live and let live. And most of all, may the light be with you. Want to celebrate something? Whether you follow any faith or say you don't know what the reality is other than be nice which you learned in preschool, it's kind to give to charity. And help feed the poor by donating food to the food banks. But that's just one family's solutions to the many food festivals in October. Eat as many vegetables as you want as long as they're not fried in fats and overly salted or sweetened too much.
Speaking of October celebrations, Catholics celebrate on October 13, the feast of Saint Edward. Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his Norman wife, Emma, daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy.
He was born at Islip, England, and sent to Normandy with his mother in the year 1013 when the Danes under Sweyn and his son Canute invaded England. What do you eat for the feast for a saint during the month of October? How about butternut squash soup or carrot and ginger soup with spiced apple lasagna? For the recipe see, "Apple Lasagna Recipe - Allrecipes.com." You also might to emulate what a saint would eat in the 11th century. See, "11th Century Carrot Muffin With Spices Recipe."
Jews celebrate Chanukah beginning on sunset of Wednesday, November 27, 2013 and ending on nightfall of Thursday, December 5, 2013. In September the community celebrated Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. The New Year festival began with sweets, followed several days later by the day of atonement and fasting, and following that day, the festival of fruits. Winter brings the festival of lights. But what holidays would a vegan celebrate, especially a vegan who wants to experience what all current religions focused on doing good deeds, caring, repairing, and sharing as a path to enlightenment are like?
What would a vegan celebrate today?
For a vegan, you might celebrate World Vegan Day in a few weeks. It happens each year on November 1st. See, "- LA's Annual November 1st Vegan Day Celebration." Or for this month of October, such as this week, you might join in celebrating this week with Sacramento's Hindus celebrating (without eating meat) the Hindu celebration called Navratri, the nine-night autumn festival honoring females of all ages. There's also some fasting and fasting recipes involved.
Hindu families sing songs, share food and admire their intricate display of 100 dolls, or golu, representing an array of Hindu deities in various forms. The colorful displays are assembled by Hindu families to celebrate Navratri, the nine-night autumn festival honoring females of all ages, according to the October 13, 2013 Sacramento Bee article by Stephen Magagnini, "Area Hindus celebrate females in nine-day holiday of Navratri."
This week in Sacramento (and all around the world) Hindu families to sing songs, share food and admire their intricate display of 100 dolls, or golu, representing an array of Hindu deities in various forms. The colorful displays are assembled by Hindu families to celebrate Navratri, the nine-night autumn festival honoring females of all ages, explains the Sacramento Bee article. Also check out the article, "Hindus celebrate Navratri, the nine-night festival of the divine."
Folsom, for example has a sizable population of Hindus
What the holiday celebrates is honoring women. During the nine-day celebration, marriages take place, children are named, and people choose this week to buy new homes or cars. People shop for new clothing, decorate the alters, and go vegan somewhat because meat and eggs are not eaten, but milk is permitted. If you're a vegan, try unsweetened almond milk.
The goal is "may the light be with you." In other words, you spend the time aligning your energy within. It's a time for mindfulness and to align your senses to the energy inside your body, that electrical system that communicates with your nerves and cells and whatever else is part of your energy.
The first three days, which began Oct. 5, 013 are dedicated to the goddess Durga, representing courage and confidence. The second three days focus on Lakshmi, representing prosperity. And the final three revolve around Saraswathi, representing knowledge and wisdom, according to Hindu religious celebration, as explained in the Sacramento Bee article.
How the holiday is celebrated among Hindus, is that it becomes an honoring women day. First the female guests invited to a home are given gifts of fruit, nuts, and a lucky red powder tucked away in red bags made of soft velvet. The customary visiting takes place as women who have pre-teen daughters visit other women such as family members to receive small gifts. The purpose is to honor women and treat them as goddesses. The young girls are honored as goddesses, which are important deities in the Hindu faith. The purpose is to bring about positive energy and good cheer.
The children sing songs, pray, and enjoy the cheerful ambiance of being honored as goddesses. Then the hostesses bless their guests with a prayer – “May the light be with you.” In the Hindu custom on this week all women are considered goddesses who bring about awareness that there is light and energy within you. That's why the blessing is "May the light be with you," with 'light' referring to the energy of the universe inside you and without.
What are the demons in the Hindu religion? There are nine demons for this holiday to reject, and those nine are ignorance, foolishness, greed, ego, addiction, hatred which is also seen as detachment, arrogance, jealousy and lust. So for the holiday, whatever your faith or if you have none, or as a freethinker, think of it this way, "may the light be with you," however you interpret that energy force of seeing more clearly. It's one way to light a candle or the light within and walk out of the darkness of one's negativity. And on a secular note, it's one reason to check out new ways of vegan eating. What about Buddhists? In October, there's the celebration, Abhidhamma Day.
In the Burmese tradition, this day celebrates the occasion when the Buddha is said to have gone to the Tushita Heaven to teach his mother, the Abhidhamma. It is held on the full moon of the seventh month of the Burmese lunar year which corresponds to the full moon day in October. See, "Buddhist Holidays and Festivals - Urban Dharma." Now what would you eat to celebrate Abhidhamma Day? You might try a vegan stir-fry.
Also check out for more information on that day, "The Buddhism Primer: An Introduction to Buddhism Dhammasaavaka, page 178." Some people think of Buddhism as Hindu 'lite,' but whatever food choices you sample for an eye on nutrition and a holiday to celebrate at the same time, one of the best ways to find the light within is to eat light without and meditate on energy.
You might also try grounding and earthing barefoot on concrete or grass while you eat. But watch out for bugs and other parasites from boring into the soles of your feet while you absorb energy from the Earth. On the other hand, numerous doctors say Earthing can be healthy due to the energy that goes into your body. See Dr. Sinatra's YouTube video, "Grounding / Earthing."