Mangala Gowri Habba |Auspicious Gowri Pooja

The day before ganesh chathurthi,we celebrate 'Mangala Gowri Habba' meaning the Auspicious Gowri Pooja.

This pooja is performed by married women ,praying to the Almighty that He may bestow good health and longevity to her husband.The procedure for this pooja may differ from household to household but the essence of performing this pooja is the same.

This year too mom invited me home to perform this pooja since this is done in the mother's house by the daughter with the mother initiating the pooja.

Legend says that Gowri[Parvathi] -Lord Shiva's consort,went to her mothers house to perform this pooja [Hence the daughters' get invited by their mothers'.]

This year mom had already set the pooja room[Prayer room] for the ritual.We have a Framed painting of Parvathi seated with her two sons that my grandmom used and that is the one we have been using for a long long time.

The framed painting is placed on a wooden plank and a small ,beautiful skirt is spread beneath it.On either sides of the Deity,blouse material folded into triangles are placed along with 'cobri' [Dried coconut],Bicholay-Karumani,[bicholay is a small ring made from Palmyra leaf dyed in red, which is tied with a black bangle and a few black beads]bangles,small mirrors.In the centre ,a handful of rice is spread and 5 pieces of dried turmeric rhizome is placed.All these items that are placed before the Deity are considered scared and auspicious.

Lamps and incense sticks are lit and the festivity mood begins.A handful of turmeric powder is taken and put on a plate and mixed with small amount of water and shaped into a cone and placed over a betel leaf in front of the 5 turmeric rhizomes.This turmeric is the 'Gowri'.Some families have this made in silver.Vermilion is applied on the Gowri.

Turmeric,vermilion,Akshathay[sacred yellow rice prepared by mixing turmeric powder and sprinkling little water on the rice,used in poojas] and flowers are offered to Her chanting a few slokas/mantras and prayed for the well-being of the husband.

Finally the aarathi is done singing a 'Aarathi song'.Every girl is expected to know a few chants and songs for special poojas like this one.

Then comes the important part of offering the 'Moradha bayana'. 'Mora' is a flat plate made of bamboo.It is placed as a pair.Turmeric is smeared on it and vermilion lines are drawn on it.

On one 'Mora' a dress material-Saree and blouse, bangles, mirror, comb , kajal, kumkum[vermilion], turmeric ,small packs of rice,rice flour,jaggery,moong dhal,toor dhal,silver toe-ring,gold nose pin,a 'mangalya'[A sacred pendent that is worn by married women],money are kept.Any other thing which is considered sacred is can also be kept along with these things.This is closed with the other 'mora'.

The person who receives this 'mora' should be married and is usually given to the daughter.It can also be given to any other married women.The girl/women is seated on a wooden plank and her legs are smeared with turmeric paste and vermilion lines outlining her feet are drawn .She is given a set of betel leaves,betel nuts,fruits and coconut along with kumkum[vermilion].

The giver covers one half of the 'mora' with her Saree pallu and the receiver covers the other half with her Saree pallu.

The giver considers the girl/women who receives the moradha-bayana as Parvathi.This ritual of moradha-bayana is considered to fortify the life of both the giver and receiver and they are blessed with all that is best and beautiful in life.

My grandma used to tell us stories of this ritual being performed in palaces by the queens who used to give 'mora' made of brass and used to give away jewels along with the customary items.The number of women who received it were innumerable.

After this ritual we had a sumptuous lunch of "Semiya Payasa and Ambaday[Paruppu vadai/Fried dhal fritters] along with rice,sambar,rasam,veg curry,pappad, curds and pickle.

Do you know that there is a connection between this function and ganesha chathurhti?? I will write about it in my next post..Until then keep guessing...

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