December features a 5 day festival for Ganesha, called Pancha Ganapati, which is a modern Hindu festival that coincides with Xmas. It presents a beautiful daily practice for 5 days centred around the five faced Ganesha (Pancha Ganapati) that focuses the heart and mind on the importance of those around you and a Hindu lifestyle. This festival has been adopted by many around the world, not only Hindus but also others who are looking for an alternative way to celebrate xmas.
This year, after the fact, I thought about foods that might be appropriate for Pancha Ganapati. I have made some suggestions below based on fruits and vegetables that have been coordinated to the colour of the day in a similar way to other festivals that have adopted similar practices. Because it is Summer here in December, many of them have a summer feel but I have included others that are winter or can be adapted for Wintery climates.
I would also love to hear from you if you have particular suggestions! Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Read more about Pancha Ganapati
You can read about the festival in more detail here.
Each day a tray of sweets, fruits and incense is prepared and offered to Lord Ganapati, ideally by the children. Chants and songs are sung in His praise. After the worship, diverse sweets are shared by one and all. Each day colorfully wrapped gifts are given to the children, who place them before Pancha Ganapati to open on the fifth day. The adults receive gifts, too! On each day one of the five faces of Pancha Ganapati is worshiped.
I don’t make a lot of sweets myself, so I have not included many in the post below, but please do make suggestions! The dishes below would be perfect for lunch or dinner.
Day 1: December 21, Yellow
On this day, the family discipline is to create a vibration of love and harmony among all members. Rising early, they decorate the shrine, then perform a grand puja invoking Ganesha’s blessings. Sitting together, they make amends for past misdeeds, insults, mental pain and injuries caused and suffered. They conclude by extolling one another’s best qualities.
Suggested Foods: Lemons, pineapples, yellow peppers, banana, mango, sweet corn and grapefruit.
Sweetcorn could be a good choice for Day 1:
and perhaps bananas for dessert.
Day 2: December 22, Blue
Day two is devoted to creating or restoring a vibration of love and harmony among neighbors, relatives and close friends. This is done by presenting heartfelt gifts and offering apologies to clear up any ill-will that may exist. Relatives and friends in far-off places are written to or called, forgiveness is sought, apologies made and tensions released.
Blue is a difficult day for food. Do you have any suggestions? I guess these foods are more purple than blue.
Suggested Foods: Blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, figs, plums, raisins, purple grapes and purple cabbage.
Eggplant suggestions include:
- Arai Puli Kuzhambu (Mildly Sour “Soup”): A Wet and Tangy Vegetable Curry with Eggplant and Potato
- Aloo Baingan Wadi Ki Subzi (Tomato, Eggplant and Potato Subzi with Wadi)
- Aubergine Fourree (Eggplants Stuffed with Tomatoes and Peppers)
- Baingan Kabharta – Eggplant Curry
- Bistecche di Melanzane (Italian Eggplant Steaks)
- Brinjal Fry — Deepfried Eggplant
- BrinjalFry — Sauteed Eggplant with Spices
- Caponata Siciliana
- Eggplant with Sesame and Soy
- Eggplant with Mirin and Miso Paste
- Narasihman’s Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Curry
- Peppers and Eggplants – Grilled and Oiled
- Tender Eggplant
Perhaps blueberries for dessert:
Day 3: December 23, Red
Today’s discipline is to establish love and harmony among business associates and the public. It is the day for presenting gifts to fellow workers and customers and to honor employers and employees with gifts and appreciation. It is a time for settling all debts and disputes.
Suggested Foods: Tomatoes, watermelon, beets, and red bell peppers. Fruits like pomegranate,strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and cherries.
Beetroot is a great choice for red, and you could feature it for both savoury and sweet dishes:
- Chilled Beetroot Soup
- Baby Beets in a Herbed Dressing
- Baked Beetroot
- Beetroot and Carrot Salad
- Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad from Ottolenghi
- Beetroot Salad with Strawberry Vinegar
- Beetroot Risotto
Or for the Red OR Green Day:
Tomatoes and Red Peppers would be other great choices. For example, this great salad:
or some other suggestions:
or even soups
For dessert, cherries are abundant at this time of year, but we choose perhaps beetroot or strawberries:
- Strawberries with Mint Raspberry Sauce
- Beetroot Halwa
- Baked Strawberries and here
- Fresh Pink Strawberry Frappe
- Strawberry or Raspberry Sorbet
- Strawberry Jam – spoon the jam over icecream!
- Strawberry Syrup
Or perhaps just strawberries and chocolate:
What about Watermelon?
Day 4: December 24, Green
The spiritual discipline of day four is to draw forth the vibration of joy and harmony that comes from music, art, drama and dance. Family, relatives and friends gather before Ganesha to share their artistic gifts, discuss Hindu Dharma and make plans to bring more cultural refinements into the home.
Suggested food: kale, broccoli, spinach, green beans, avocado, celery, lettuce, watercress, cucumber, broccoli, sprouts, green beans, peas, green apples, green grapes and kiwi fruit.
For Green I have chosen Avocado:
or Green Beans:
- Avarakkai Fry. A recipe for Indian Broad Beans – use green beans if you don’t have access to Indian Broad Beans
- Bean Paruppu Usili (Green Bean Paruppu Puttu): Green Beans with a Lentil Crumble
- Beans with Fresh Pecorino Salad
or, for plenty of choice, cucumbers
- Asian Cucumber and Tofu Salad
- Cacik: Turkish cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze
- Cool as a Cucumber Curry – Cucumber Curry
- Cucumber, Herbs and Poppy Seed Salad
- Cucumber Salad with Sesame
- Simple Cucumber Salad
- Simple approaches
Spinach would be a good choice too.
And dessert can feature green apples or green pears:
Day 5: December 25, Orange
The discipline for this day is to bring forth love and harmony that comes from charity and religiousness. As the gifts are opened, one and all experience Ganesha’s abundant, loving presence filling their home and hearts, inspiring them anew for the coming year.
Suggested foods: Carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, apricots, peaches, mangoes, orange peppers, pumpkin and oranges.
What is better than carrots for the 5th day, where the colour is orange?
- Carrot Curry with Coconut-Lentil Crumble
- Carrot Sambal
- A North African Carrot Dip
- Parsnip and Carrot Mash
- Roasted Carrot and Garlic Soup, for a cold night
- Roasted Carrots with Pomegranate Molasses
- Spicy Parsnip and Carrot Soup
or perhaps oranges?
- Haloumi and Orange Salad. Two Variations on a Recipe
- Orange and Olive Salad with Mint and Basil
- Orange, Lemon or Lime Kuzhambu
and then apricots and oranges for dessert: