Oct 15, 2015

Choodi Puja - A GSB Tradition

A very unique and beautiful tradition of GSB community is Choodi Pooja. Celebrated by all married girls along with all other married family members in the month of Shravana Maasa. Shravana Maasa for Year 2015 started on 08/16/2015. Shravana Maasa by itself is considered a very auspicious month lined up with festivals. Starting with Naga Panchami (Nag Panchami) until Nopi (Ananta Chaturdashi) this month is filled with relatives, festivals and of course yummy food :-). But for women of GSB Community the festival of Shravana Maasa starts on Chudi Pooja.

It's widely known fact that a tulsi plant has medicinal properties capable of purifying the surroundings.Chudis are the tiny bouquets of flowers like red Ratnagandhi and yellow Mithayi flowers with durva grass. While praying,Surya is also prayed. This is typically a puja of both Tulsi and Surya.  There are no mantras and no shlokas but the married ladies alone can perform this pooja.

Chudi Pooja is observed on every Friday and Sunday. The tradition which we follow on Fridays is after taking bath (hair washing is a must), lighting diya at the pooja room, performing tulsi puja.  We can have breakfast only after the pooja is done. strictly no onion no garlic for the entire day and Sundays are lenient. Hair wash, onion, garlic are completely personal choice but pooja before eating food remains the same.

Panchakajjaya or mere jaggery and poha, hurikadale can be offered as Naivedyam. Once the puja is over, the chudis will be given to married ladies, seeking blessings from elderly women.  Among the married ladies, those who are close in relation but live in a different city are remembered and chudi will be sent by mail with a little kumkum. The recipient will send a similar chudi with her blessings.

During the first year of marriage this is usually celebrated both at in-laws and also at mom’s place inviting the closest relatives. This tradition is a link between younger and older generation people.

Chudi is a tiny bouquet of herbal and wild flowers tied with yarn of plantain tree called vaayu. Traditionally the flowers used in preparing chudis are :

Rathnagandhi (which is also known as Sanjeevini)
Kanagani phool
Dibrankur (Durva grass)

But  due to non availability of these flowers the ladies in the Gowd Saraswath Brahmin community do scout for local varieties of flowers. Women make nine chudis and gives it to the other women in her family or locality.

Puja Method:
First light the diya.
Apply haldi, kumkum and gandh first to kalash and then to Tulsi.

Pour five times water to Tulsi and keep all the veedos and chudis. You need to prepare 5 veedos for the puja.

Offer the prasad as Naivedyam.
Take spoonful of akshata in hand and do 5 pradhikshana. When you are doing pradhikshana you need to offer akshatha to tulsi and then to surya god.
Light agarbhati and then perform aarti.

Leave one chudi and veedo for Tulsi and take the rest back in poleru.
Before entering the house again do the same puja to dwara or Umboru is what it is called in Konkani. Keep two chudis one side each of Umboru. Perform puja and then enter the house with right foot first.
Then distribute chudis all other Sumangalis present during the puja. Seek blessings from elderly people.
This puja should be done before noon.

The pictures I have posted here is the puja I do in the US in our patio. I do not have the traditional Tulsi Katto. I have one particular pot which I got specifically for Tulsi plant and every year (for the last 3 years) I have been getting Tulsi plant from Indian Grocery sometime in May or early June. The plant grows well by the time of August and I perform this puja every Friday and Sunday. Because I can not get traditional flowers here, I just keep 5 flowers as chudi and if betel leaves are available I keep one veedo.

Once Aarti is performed and my prayers are done, I give one flower to my husband and touch his feet to seek blessings. Yes, that's included in the tradition too !

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