July 24, 2017 is the start of Shravana Masam or the month of Shravan in states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka which follow the Amavasyant calendar. It ends on August 23, 2017. Now begins the “favouritest” part of the year for me.
Shravan is the fifth month of the Hindu calendar and is probably its holiest. It is choc-a-bloc with festivals and auspicious occasions. It also ushers in the 4-month long festival season in India that stretches right up to Deepavali or Diwali (mid-November this year).
The intervening period is filled with all manner of festivals and holy days that give me an opportunity to indulge in all my favourite activities; perform and attend assorted poojas, dress up in lovely silk sarees, visit friends and relatives for haldi-kumkum, sing in temples on various auspicious days, attend a range of concerts, and last but not the least, enjoy a vast range of delicacies. 🙂
Read a scientific explanation of why we should fast in Shravan. Eating fish is also prohibited in Shravan, for one simple reason; fish spawn at this time of the year.
Each region in India has its own set of festivals and here are some that we observe in Andhra Pradesh (which is the state my ancestors are from) and Maharashtra (the state where I grew up and live):
- Shravan Somvaram or Mondays in the month of Shravan are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Many devotees fast on these days. It is said that unmarried girls who want to get married should observe the Shravan Somvar fasts.The dates for the Shravan Somvaram Vratam in 2017 are:
- July 24, 2017
- July 31, 2017
- August 7, 2017
- August 14, 2017
- August 21, 2017
- Mangala Gowri Pooja is performed by married women (sumangali) on all Tuesdays in Shravan for the well-being of their husbands. Gowri (or Gauri) is also another name for Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.The dates for the Mangala Gowri Pooja in 2017 are:
- July 25, 2017
- August 1, 2017
- August 8, 2017
- August 15, 2017
- Shravan Shukravaram or Fridays in the Month of Shravan are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. For married women in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, the most important Shravan Shukravaram is the one that falls on the Friday before the full moon (Shravana Pournami Purvasta Shukravarey). This is the day on which Varalakshmi Vratam is performed.The dates for Shravan Shukravar in 2017 are:
- July 28, 2017
- August 4, 2017 (Varalakshmi Vratam)
- August 11, 2017
- August 18, 2017
- Nag Panchami is the day snakes are worshipped in many parts of the country. The date for Nag Panchami is August 7, 2017.
- Shravan Paurnami or Shravan Poornima has become popular all over India as Raskha Bandhan, a festival that is essentially from North India and one that celebrates the relationship between a brother and sister.In Maharashtra, it is celebrated by the Koli community or the fisherman community as Narali Poornima. They worship Lord Varuna, the lord of the seas to bless them with a bountiful catch and protect them on rough seas.In Tamil Nadu, this day is also celebrated as Avani Avittam. The date for Raksha Bandhan, Narali Poornima, Avani Avittam is August 7, 2017.
- Gokulashtami, Krishnashtami, or Sri Krishna Janmashtami is the birth of Lord Krishna; He who gave the world the Bhagwat Gita and as a child was known to steal milk, curds, and butter from all households around him. In Maharashtra, Krishna’s antics as a childare enacted by youngsters (known locally as Govindas) who go around breaking pots of milk and curd tied high above the ground by forming human pyramids.The date for Krishnashtami, Janmashtami, or Gokulashtami is August 14, 2017.
Here are a few recipes that you can make during this month.