What is Shravan?
According to the Hindu calendar, Shravan month is the holiest month of the year. The Shravan Nakshatra is considered to rule the skies on Poornima, the full moon day, or any day during this month, which is how the month gets its name.
During this month, many Hindus fast on Mondays to obtain Lord Shiva’s blessings and on Tuesdays to obtain the goddess Parvati’s blessings. All important religious rites should be held at this time.
Devotees bathe the Shivling with holy water and milk every Monday in the month of Shravan, and they also present it with bael leaves, water, milk, curd, butter, ghee, or jaggery. Devotees fast until the sun sets and they burn Akahand jot throughout the night.
The auspicious month of Shravan or Sawan, the fifth month in the Hindu calendar, is considered sacred. Most Hindus in western India, particularly in Gujarat and Maharashtra, fast for a complete month or on specified days of the week.
Shravan is in full swing, and with it comes the duty of preparing something salt-free, onion-free, and garlic-free, yet appetising and healthful.
Many people opt to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet as a sort of spiritual observance during the month of Shravan. Here are some popular vegetarian options that are popular during this time of year:
- Fruits: Fruits like bananas, apples, pears, grapes, and pomegranates are commonly consumed during Shravan. They are considered pure and are often offered as prasad (offering) to deities.
- Vegetables: Most vegetables are suitable during Shravan. You can prepare dishes like sabzis (vegetable stir-fries), curries, and salads using vegetables like spinach, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and bell peppers.
- Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and beans are rich sources of protein and can be used to prepare dals (lentil soups), curries, and sprout salads.
- Grains: Rice, wheat, millet, and other grains are staples in the vegetarian diet. You can prepare dishes like rice pilaf, chapatis (Indian flatbreads), and various types of bread.
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts, as well as seeds like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, can be consumed as snacks or used to enhance the nutritional content of various dishes.
- Dairy Products: Many vegetarians consume dairy products like milk, yogurt, and paneer (Indian cottage cheese) during Shravan. These can be used to make a variety of dishes.
- Herbs and Spices: Herbs and spices are used to add flavor to dishes. Common options include turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon.
- Sweets: Sweets made from dairy products like kheer (rice pudding), sandesh (a Bengali sweet), and various types of ladoos are popular during this time.
- Fasting Foods: Some people observe fasting during certain days of Shravan. Fasting foods might include fruits, nuts, milk, potatoes, and specific grains like amaranth and barnyard millet.
- Herbal Teas: Herbal teas made from ingredients like ginger, tulsi (holy basil), and mint are often consumed during fasting periods.
Disclaimer: Personal beliefs and cultural practices might influence dietary habits. If you are observing Shravan, it is important that you adhere to the standards and practises that are consistent with your tradition and beliefs. If you have specific issues about what foods are appropriate during this time, always speak with a knowledgeable religious or spiritual leader.