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Ayurvedic Deepavali

The thought of Dīpāvalī immediately invokes the thoughts of the variety of sweets and savories that we have. Traditionally, all the sweets and savories were prepared at home and not purchased. It was on occasion to make use of a wide variety of ingredients and prepare various items as a family. Everyone in the family go together and contributed to the cooking process. Someone would mix the ingredients, someone would make them into small portions and someone would cook them. That way everyone participates in the kitchen activity. Each house made sure that their friends also got a share of the prepared sweets and this ensured the bhava of sharing and caring.


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Did you know that there are lot of insights from traditional health systems like siddha and ayurveda blended into the various things we do on Dīpāvalī?


Oil Bath

As soon as everyone wakes up, sesame oil is warmed with 3-4 black peppers and 2-3 small pieces of ginger. All are made to sit facing the east and the eldest in the family applies oil and massages the head gently. The family members apply warm oil throughout the body and then take bath in warm water applying shikakai and green gram flour.

In Ayurveda, an oil bath, also known as "Abhyanga Snana," is considered a beneficial and traditional practice that is often recommended for various occasions.

An oil bath is believed to help remove toxins (ama) from the body, both on the surface and from within. The oil, when applied and massaged into the skin, can help dislodge impurities and promote their elimination through the skin's pores.

The thought of Dīpāvalī immediately invokes the thoughts of the variety of sweets and savories that we have. Traditionally, all the sweets and savories were prepared at home and not purchased. It was on occasion to make use of a wide variety of ingredients and prepare various items as a family. Everyone in the family go together and contributed to the cooking process. Someone would mix the ingredients, someone would make them into small portions and someone would cook them. That way everyone participates in the kitchen activity. Each house made sure that their friends also got a share of the prepared sweets and this ensured the bhava of sharing and caring.

Did you know that there are lot of insights from traditional health systems like siddha and ayurveda blended into the various things we do on Dīpāvalī?




Dipavali Lehyam

Immediately after the oil bath, all members of the family consume a small ball of Dipavali Lehyam.



Dipavali Lehyam, also known as Dipavali Marundhu, is a traditional South Indian paste consumed during the festival of Diwali (Deepavali). It is prepared using a combination of various spices and herbs and is believed to have digestive and medicinal properties. Deepavali Lehyam is often consumed to aid digestion and alleviate any discomfort that may arise from indulging in festive meals and sweets during Diwali. It relieves gas, and provides warmth to the body due to the presence of spices like ginger and black pepper.

According to Ayurveda, Lehyams are typically prepared by combining various herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients with a base of ghee (clarified butter) or honey to create a semi-solid, sticky, and highly concentrated medicinal preparation.


Ingredients:


Dry ginger powder (Sukku) or fresh ginger pieces- 2 tablespoons

Coriander Seeds: 1 tablespoon

Black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon

Cumin seeds (Jeera) - 1 teaspoon

Cloves (Laung) - 5-6

Cardamom seeds (Elachi) - from 4-5 pods

Jaggery (unrefined sugar) - 1 cup, grated or chopped

Ghee (clarified butter) - 2 tablespoons

Edible camphor (Pachai Karpooram) - a small pinch (optional)

Water - 1/2 cup


Instructions:


  • Dry roast the ginger powder/ginger pieces, black pepper, cumin seeds, cloves, and cardamom seeds separately until they become aromatic. Allow them to cool.

  • Grind the roasted spices into a fine powder/paste using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, add ghee and melt it over low heat.

  • Add the grated or chopped jaggery to the pan and let it melt in the ghee.

  • Once the jaggery is completely melted, add the ground spice mixture and mix well.

  • Continue to cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Cook until the mixture thickens and forms a semi-solid consistency. This may take about 15-20 minutes.

  • If using edible camphor, add a pinch at this stage and mix it in. Be very cautious with camphor, as it is strong, and only a tiny amount is needed.

  • Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down a bit.

  • While the mixture is still warm, shape it into small, bite-sized balls or roll it into a cylindrical shape.

  • Allow the Deepavali Lehyam to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.



Lehyams (in general and not just the ones prepared during Dipavali) have several benefits:

• They address a wide range of digestive disorders

• They enhance immunity

• Improve respiratory health

• Support the nervous system

• Contain adaptogenic herbs that help the body adapt to stress and maintain balance

• Also serves as a daily tonic for general well-being

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