Annapurna Jayanti is one of the most ancient and unique festivals which celebrate and uphold food as an observance. Annapurna Jayanti is the festival which celebrates the birth anniversary of the Goddess Annapurna.
Annapurna as the name suggests is the Goddess of Food, as Anna means food and purna means fulfillment. She is known to be the avatar of Goddess Parvati. Her birth anniversary is commemorated on the purnima of the Margashirasha month as per the traditional Hindu calendar.
According to the Gregorian calendar the Annapurna Jayanti is celebrated on the month of December. It is a puja which is primarily observed by the women. In Bengal this observance is celebrated on the on the month of Chaitra.
Legend behind Annapurna Jayanti
As per legend goes, once the food from earth was getting over and it was not getting replenished. Human beings were at the risk of starving to death and perishing. All the human beings prayed to Lord Brahma and Vishnu to save them from perishing. Lord Vishnu and Brahma then awoke Lord Shiva from his Yoganidra or induced sleep. Awake, Lord Shiva agreed to restore food to earth.
It is believed that Lord Shiva took the form of a beggar begging for rice all over the world and Goddess Parvati took the form of Goddess Annapurna. Shiva then distributed this rice amongst people all over the world. It is believed that while Lord Shiva helps in getting his devotees attain Moksha or salvation, Goddess Annapurna ensures that no devotee remains without food.
Rituals of Annapurna Jayanti
- Annapurna Jayanti is celebrated by devotees in their house. A small mandap with the idol of Goddess Annapurna is kept.
- The Goddess Annapurna on this day is worshipped with shodoshapochara.
- Goddess Annapurna’s abhishekam is done on this day.
- Women generally keep a fast and abstain from having anything till the evening when the puja is done.
- They seek divine blessings from the Goddess Annapurna.
- Devotees reciting Annapurna Devi Ashtakam’ is considered to be extremely auspicious.
Significance of Annapurna Jayanti
Annapurna Jayanti is a festival dedicated to the Goddess of food and cooking. As mentioned earlier her name implies food, i.e. Anna and completion i.e. Purna. Her intervention ensured that food never ran out of the world and is always replenished. It is also believed that the devotees observing this vrat or rituals are always blessed by her. The devotees never go out of food for sustenance and this is especially in the case of devotees staying in Kashi.