As a community of people that grow up practicing rituals from birth, we don’t...
Ganga Snaan: The ritual decoded
It’s pitch dark and I am shaken awake, it takes me a while to get my bearings and by the time I do, I am sitting cross-legged on a plank and my Grandmother is dousing me with gingelly oil. This is a scene that most of us have re-lived each year as a child and it is a memory that gets me absolutely nostalgic right now. Ganga Snaan,that’s my Dad’s favourite term the morning of each Diwali. He will call and receive many calls to exchange wishes and I distinctly remember counting with bated breath before he would enquire if the other person had their Ganga Snaan as a way of greeting. This would fascinate me and get on my nerves at the same time. What is so special about this Ganga Snaan and why is it a trending term especially around Diwali? This was a question I’ve had for a long time and after asking a bunch of people in their golden age and reading through a few excerpts in books that mentioned this ritual, I think I’ve arrived at a semblance of an answer.
Narakasura on his deathbed requested as his last wish that his death be celebrated with great pomp and glory and should serve as a reminder to people of the triumph of good over evil. One might wonder what connection this might have to Diwali and the answer to that is that, Deepavali is actually Naraka Chaturdhasi. Okay, so what about Ganga Snaan? Where does that fit in, is the next question. Ganga Snaan is a holy ritual that one undertakes on the morning of Diwali. Goddess Lakshmi is believed to dwell in the Gingelly Oil and Goddess Ganga in the Hot water that one bathes in, early in the morning before the sun has risen. Why this time had been a question in my mind for long and the answer to that is that the time before sunrise would symbolically not be counted as part of the Diwali day which falls on Amavasya ( New Moon Day) and one usually does not take oil baths on said day. So, this oil bath ritual on Deepavali day is a ritual that is believed to be all cleansing as it is an annual occurrence of a time period that is absolutely sacred. Now, don’t fret when your elders ask you to wake up super early in the morning for that Sacred Oil Bath. One sacred bath and the positive energy it spreads in the family and our hearts is unmistakable proof of the power of a Ganga Snaan.
Use your sheekakha (herbal powder) well to wash off the oil properly as you don’t want to be blurry eyed for the festivities of Diwali. There is one additional ritual to the Ganga Snaan that most of us have grown up with. This ritual is called the Kaveri Snaan and is a cold water bath one takes, two hours after sunrise. This ritual is also extremely special and sacred as it is believed that Goddess Kaveri resides in the cold water on Diwali day and undergoing this ritual will definitely get you those brownie points that we all can’t have enough of. This Diwali have your Ganga Snaan for sure and your Kaveri Snaan too and tell us if the magic worked. I am positive that this Diwali is going to be as amazing as Diwalis always are. Diwali always brings everyone together to celebrate,to share and spread love. This Deepavali , Aha Bazaar brings to you a very unique combo, the Ganga Snaan Combo which is made up of all the products you will need to have your Ganga Snaan! Have your Ganga Snaan this year with absolute ease and just the way it was, back home. Gingelly oil, Pepper corns, Ganga Jal ( the real deal ), Sheekakhai ( use it wisely & carefully) and most of all Sweets & Savouries that will absolutely bring home closer. Hurry and palace your orders with us to ensure you get your Ganga Snaan Combo right in time for Diwali. Till then watch out for our next story that will not only bring home closer but also talk about what makes a home and does distance really make the heart grow fonder and such.