Vasu Baras – the first day of Diwali

Vasu Baras – the first day of Diwali

 

Diwali is all about lip smacking sweets like ‘Laadu’, ‘Chakali’, ‘Chivada, the dazzling light of Kandil gleaming the ambience, everybody dressed up in brand new clothes and jewelry, the fragrance of ‘Utna’ spreading the joy of holiness…

Diwali, our dearest festival of lights, joy, splendor, brightness and happiness just couldn’t be more exciting!

When it comes to Diwali, ladies go crazy about shopping and preparing food!

The gentlemen keep themselves occupied by cleaning the house and lending money to their kids to buy crackers and toys for killa (fort)…

Let us see magnificent days of Diwali in brief.

Vasu Baras

Vasu Baras is widely celebrated in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The Maharashtrians and Gujaratis begin their Diwali by worshiping the cow and the calf. It is also called as Govatsa Dwadashi. South India too celebrates it as Nandini Vrat where cows and calves are fed preparations made of wheat.

‘Vasu-baras’ comes on tithi – Ashwin Krushna Dwadashi as per Marathi calendar. It falls on the 12th day of Krishna Paksha which is the waning period of the moon. Women perform Puja of cows who has a calf, this tradition symbolizes a woman’s gratitude towards cow for serving them and their children.

The story associated with this practice is that of Prithu. According to the mythology, Prithu was the son of Vena who was an evil King who ignored Vedic rituals. Due to his excesses, a famine befell his kingdom. The sages killed the King and churned his body out of which appeared a dwarf hunter and then emerged Prithu. To end the famine, Prithu chased the earth, which began to flee from him in the form of a cow. On being cornered, she pointed out that killing her would also mean the end of his subjects. Prithu then reasoned with her and the cow agreed to yield her milk. Since he gave earth her life, she took his name, Prithvi.

Another version of the story credits Prithu with the invention of agriculture and flattening the earth’s rocky surface. The worshiping of the cow and calf is symbolic of the prosperity that Prithu brought to the earth.

The Indians refer to the cow as Gomata, Go meaning Cow and Mata stands for mother. Since the cow is regarded as the mother, it is an important ritual for the families to thank the cows for providing them with everything they have.

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