Deep Pooja: The House Cleaning

Please do not confuse this with Diwali, Deep Pooja is an esoteric ritual celebrated by Maharashtrians. This day also coincides with the gastronomic Gatari as well. As we all know what follows Gatari is a month of diet control (much like Lint for Christians or Ramzan for Muslims), where we try and avoid eating non-vegetarian food.

So why take this diet?

There are multiple reasons why this diet is part of annual ritual for many Maharashtrians.

  • It helps cleanse your system with a month of vegetarian diet
  • That one month coincides with the breeding season of the fish, thus giving nature time to replenish the resources that we consume in a year
  • It also gives you a reason to celebrate and eat, drink and be merry

This will go on till Ganesh Chaturthi, post which the month long fast is broken.

What is Deep Pooja?

Deep Pooja is the cue to the community to do house cleaning of all the lamps in the household. In the days before electricity, the light provided after sunset was using oil lamps. The bigger and richer the household, the more lamps they used. Deep Pooja was the day when all the lamps in the household were cleaned of all the grime and oil residue, and thanked by the household for providing them with light.

Of course, with every festival such as this, there is specific Pathare Prabhu cuisine such as Umbar.

So do we thank Electrical Switches and Tubelights now?

Nope. At this point of time, pragmatism kicks in. Yet, all the lamps in the household are cleaned and made ready for their use (Ganpati, Diwali). We are yet to start thanking Electricity and service providers (yes, when I thank Reliance, that’d be the day!!). However, we still do house cleaning during this time and that is what this day should represent.