Rings of celebration

For Maharashtrians,today is a day of onion delicacies. From kanda bhajji,kanda bhel and kanda pohe to kanda thalipeeth,kanda koshimbir and kanda masalas,the community will feast on all things onion.

Written by Anup Satphale | Published: July 19, 2010 12:13:45 am

Today,Maharashtrians will get together to celebrate Kande Navami by feasting on onion delicacies,a luxury they will give up during Chaturmaas

For Maharashtrians,today is a day of onion delicacies. From kanda bhajji,kanda bhel and kanda pohe to kanda thalipeeth,kanda koshimbir and kanda masalas,the community will feast on all things onion. Falling on the ninth day of the Ashaadh Shukla Paksha as per the Hindu calendar,Kande Navami precedes the beginning of Chaturmaas – the four months when onion,garlic and non-veg are prohibited. And thus this day almost urges people to eat as much kanda as they can!

Its celebration has mythological as well as medical reasons. Sunanda Panse,a homemaker,says,“On this day,we make kande bhajji and kanda bhaat. Apart from being a tradition,Kande Navami also has a medical significance. Onions spice up food,and as such spicy food is avoidable during this monsoon season.”

This day usually translates into a social celebration and parties are organised wherein women dish out new recipes that everyone gorge on. At times,competitions are held at mahila mandals. Homemaker Diya Gokhale elaborates,“This day is a good opportunity for everyone to get together and enjoy the spread of dishes like kande bhajji,vade,kandyachi koshimbir,bhajniche thalipeeth with onion and so on. People gather at mandals – either as part of a kitty party or a common interest group – to celebrate the day.” Gokhale also throws light on the mythological significance of the day. “Ashadhi Ekadashi comes two days after Kande Navami. It is believed that Lord Vishnu sleeps for four months (Chaturmaas) from Ashadhi Ekadashi to Kartiki Ekadashi,and since we avoid eating onion during this period,Kande Navami is a chance for us to enjoy the delicacies prepared with onion before the four-month long restraint.”

Kande Navami is a way of emphasising the importance of Chaturmaas. Religious teacher Milinbua Badve explains,“During these four months,different plants like Rasgira,Math,Tandulsa,Ghol and Aghada are grown which can be eaten as vegetables as well as used to prevent diseases as they are good antibiotics. This adds to the significance of Chaturmaas.” He also adds,“Since these four months are considered to be holy days of devotion,it’s important that people fast,refrain from eating onions and keep desires at bay.”

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