Tag Archives: celebration

Shaad, a pre-birth celebration for the Bengali woman

I learned a new word today. I looked up “shaad”, and this blog post is what I found. There will be lots and lots of learning in the months ahead…

Shalinee in India


Currently facing my 6th month of pregnancy, my Mother wanted to celebrate it by having a Shaad, meaning ‘desire’ in Bengali. Traditionally, the Shaad is celebrated along with the pregnant woman’s close friends and relatives, the idea being to surround the woman with as many positive vibes possible. The actual meal of the shaad is supposed to consist of all of the pregnant woman’s favourite food.

That wasn’t too tough for me to decide on what I wanted to eat, since I like almost everything of what Bengali food has to offer! Being a very unfussy person, I didn’t want to have any get together. My cook in Kolkata, Shumi prepared this lovely lavish feast for me. I have never seen or heard of a shaad before, so I had no idea that so much hard work was involved into making one. (If I’d have known earlier, I would have…

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Filed under cross cultural understanding, family and relationships, food, tradition, Uncategorized

Merry Winter Solstice! Here Comes the Sun…

Don’t wait for Sunday; today/tomorrow is the day to celebrate!

While strip malls are swarming with stressed shoppers scrambling to get to the bottom of their lists in time for the big gift switch, the truly monumental moment is happening tonight (or tomorrow, depending where you are). It’s winter solstice – go hug an evergreen!

Algonquin evergreen trees in sun and snow on a winter day

Sun Tree Winter Green

This midwinter festival goes back way more than 2012 years. It goes back into the cold dark pagan past. It goes back to the beginning of human consciousness, when the first naked apes looked up at the winter night sky waiting for a speedier return of the increasingly overdue sun.

With days getting colder and nights getting longer, these people – with no Weather Network, no electricity, no streetlamps (nor streets) – huddled together under precious animal skins and waited for the return of light and warmth.

Must have been a hell of a thing.

But they weren’t stupid; they’d lasted long enough to figure out that things would turn around, that snows would melt and new buds would blossom.

In time, ancient peoples such as Druids and Mayans constructed stone temples that took precise celestial measurements by which they pinpointed the date on which the longest night of the year past. And you know what they did then? They celebrated!

Merry Solstice to all of you, far and near, famous or forgotten, preachy or pagan, squished together or totally solitary – Merry Solstice to every one of you!

And for those of you in the southern hemisphere, enjoy your harvest. And don’t worry, your days won’t get shorter forever.


Filed under beginnings, cross cultural understanding, Optimism & Inspiration, tradition