Bhoot Chaturdashi: Bengalis Eat 14 Leafy Veggies During Kali Pujo. Here’s Its Significance

by Shreya Ghosh
Bhoot Chaturdashi: Bengalis Eat 14 Leafy Veggies During Kali Pujo. Here’s Its Significance

Diwali is celebrated with pomp and glory all around India. There are different rituals and traditions that are followed before or during the festival in different places. In West Bengal, Bengalis celebrate Kali Pujo and worship Maa Kali at this time of the year. There is a ritual followed by many Bengalis where a vegetarian dish is prepared using 14 leafy vegetables during Kali Pujo. What is this festival and why do Bengalis celebrate the tradition? Let’s find that out!

Here’s The Ritual Of Eating A Recipe Of 14 Leafy Veggies On Bhoot Chaturdashi During Kali Pujo

Kali Pujo
Picture credit- Wikimedia Commons

Is any festival complete without a typical culinary celebration for Bengalis? Being a Bengali, I can assure you that the answer to this question is a big NO! Many Hindu Bengali households follow a unique tradition of eating Choddo Shaak (14 types of leafy vegetables) on Bhoot Chaturdashi. This day falls a day before Kali Puja and there are some special rituals to follow on this day.

The first and primary tradition is to cook a simple dish where using 14 different types of leafy veggies is a must. This mixed veg is prepared with lots of vegetables and seasonal shaak (leafy vegetables) are added too. Devotees eat this dish as it is believed to not only keep everyone healthy but also become strong enough to stay fit during this time of the year.

There are more religious rituals that are followed a day prior to Kali Pujo. Many families light up 14 diyas for 14 generations of their ancestors. It is said that the ancestors can help their predecessors to stay away from negative and bad energies. One thing to remember here is that these customs of Bhoot Chaturdashi are not celebrated in all the Bengali households in West Bengal. Generally, most families follow the traditions and others have some different rituals to follow during the festival.

Also read: Diwali Quickies: Fire Safety To Surveillance, 7 Security Measures Taken By Indian Cities & States  

But Why Choddo Shaak? What Is Its Significance?

Kali Pujo
Picture credit- Wikimedia Commons

There are quite a few reasons behind Bengali families following the traditions before Kali Pujo. Cooking a dish with 14 types of leafy vegetables, Indian spices, and even sometimes more veggies makes it extremely nutritious. Though Bengalis love to eat fish, meat, and many other oily delicacies during festivals, devotees eat this veg dish on Bhoot Chaturdashi. This is very healthy and nutritious, keeps everyone strong, and boosts immunity at the beginning of the winter season.

It is believed that many spirits and unsatisfied souls come to the Earth on this night. Also, it is said that these spirits bring diseases with them too. To protect the lives on Earth, rituals such as eating Choddo Shaak and lighting 14 diyas for ancestral generations are followed. This recipe is rich in so many nutrients that have strength and nutrition to provide to our bodies. It makes us strong from the inside and keeps our immunity in great condition as well.

Here’s a recipe to make Choddo Shaak at home shared on YouTube by Bani’s Kitchen@baniskitchen9485.

Also read: From Shiddha Chal To Ragi Koozh, Explore The Flavours Of Devotion With These Kali Puja Dishes

Have you ever eaten something like Choddo Shaak before? Do your family also follow these rituals? Let us know!

Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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