Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sheetlashtmi-Do we ever analyse -Why we eat previous day's cooked food?What could be its significance?

Have you ever thought- What could have been the significance of eating cold or say Bansi or Thanda food on "Sheetlashatmi" or Bansaura? When there are customs there is always significance & a hidden logic behind that. In ancient times people associated the logics with a popular custom or festival, So the majority would accept it willingly with a faith that would never let them break this custom.
Sheetla Ashtami comes in month of March, seven days after the Holika dahan. It's time when summer knocks the doors of North India.
The festival is also associated with a number of religious beliefs. According to the belief, celebration of this festival would save the people from epidemics. In fact, by celebrating the festival, the local people pay respect to the goddess-"Sheetala Mata" This fetival is predominantly being celebrated in North India. Especially in Jaipur, Rajasthan. 

On the day of bansuda a variety of foods are prepared on the eve of festival and ate, next day. And there is a religious restriction made that post Sheetla Poojan. no one will eat a stale or overnight kept cooked food. It is termed as the last day of year to eat stale.

Till Sharad Poornima only freshly cooked food would be consumed.
The main LOGIC behind this custom was that on the day of Sheetlashtmi. people eat Bansi or Thanda. They themselves find out,that the cooked food gets spoilt due to the onset of summers.Also the religious restriction made not to eat stale till the end of month Kartik or till the day of Sharad poornima.(this is the time of onset of winters as S.Poornima comes in October generally) 
So,this custom was enforced to reduce the instances of food poisoning.
 There will be lesser chances of people following this tradition-eating stale food  n getting ill. 
Sheetla Mata
Secondly, during this time of seasonal transition there are many Diseases like Pox, measles etc which in traditional Indian ideology is termed as "Mata".
Sheetala Mata Poojan is done on the Day of Sheetashtmi to appease the goddess. So she would keep away from contagious diseases. It is thought that the person suffering from such ailments like measles or small pox shouldn't eat hot things, have lot of fruits & cool drinks like lassi, chhachh, panna etc. Keep away the patient from "Baghar or Chhonk." Don't let them be out of house. Otherwise"Mataji rushta ho jayengi & the disease would be vulnerable. All this seems to be superstitious. But there was logic behind it too- Off-course; none with scientific thought process can rely on religious strands associated with Measles or Small pox. 
It’s a fact that during these diseases more of cool foods, more of liquids are to be taken to combat dehydration. There is more, requirement of vitamins from fruits. Especially Vit-C and protein rich bland & light diet helps in curing this disease. For sure good sources of this are citrus fruits, Shikanji, Chhachh,Aam ka panna, milk n its products.Medical science too advise-to keep away the patient from sunlight, dust n smoke n give him light less oily diet. That’s what ancient people called "baghar bina khana banana chahiye!" 
Turn any page of our year old customs-- You would find an unexplained logic behind it! Indians were Logical not superstitious!