"What's the Spiritual Season?," a Commentary by Stephanie Fenton

March 1, 2009

Author: Stephanie Fenton

Source: ReadTheSpirit Online


Food. Fasting. Festivities.

This week is shaped by a great assortment of global observances — including fasts in several traditions. Many Hindus are fasting in honor of Lord Shiva today. Many Christians eat in abundance through Shrove Tuesday (also known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday) — and then they fast on Ash Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there’s also a Baha’i observance this week. And, Tibetan Buddhists usually hold New Year’s festivals during Losar — but there's news about this year's unusual approach to the holiday. In short: There is a lot going on this week!

Hindu fasting honors the god Shiva in an observance called Maha Shivaratri. Many Hindus will offer Bael leaves to Lord Shiva, fast during the day and hold an all-night vigil. One of the prime purposes of this festival is to awaken the spirit.

In honor of Maha Shivaratri, we've been exploring Indian culture online and have found a wonderful Web site with a recipe you can try at home for Shivratri Raita. The site also allows you to email recipes like this to friends.

Handing down traditional recipies is important this week! Many Christians — and non-Christians as well — will hungrily watch paczkis fill the shelves of pastry shops for Shrove Tuesday.