Bengal’s own Halloween: Bhoot Chaturdashi
If your child has been enamoured by the Trick or Treat games of Halloween and loved that Pumpkin carving, we are sure they would also love Bengal’s home-grown ‘Halloween’ night. Well, we call it Bhoot Chaturdashi, and the different idols of demonic figures and evil forces dancing to the tune of hell, will surely make your kids roll down in laughter, rather than create that eerie feeling of horror!
And do not forget to teach them the health benefits of this day too. This is the day when most Bengali households have a bunch of 14 saag for lunch! Yes, a potent concoction that came down the ages to make you healthy and boost up the immunity before the viruses start invading in the pre-winter and winter months. To the ever intelligent and intellectual people of Bengal, even religion was always laced with a dose of science. The bunch of these leafy vegetables that are a ‘must,’ one needs to have a day before Kali Puja, as told by our grannies, also include the usual green leafy ones like Pui and Palak. But there are the unusual varieties too, like Notey saag, Mulo saag, Luni saag and Laal saag (red variety) along with leaves of vegetables such as cauliflower, flowers of sapla (an aquatic variety), which are laden with vitamins, that help to boost up the body’s immunity.
For the die-hard romantics, there is the ritual of candle lighting too. And that is again at 14 spots, that are usually considered to be the dark corners in a house. Are we driving evil or illuminating the neglected corners? Here again comes the essence of Bengal’s idealism where Kali is considered as a symbol of triumph over all dark forces and celebration of light in the dark corners. So why not celebrate Bengal’s own Halloween today?