As a child I wasn’t aware of too many festivals other than the popular ones like Diwali and Navratri. But I always remembered Kojagiri Purnima. This purnima, also known as Sharad Purnima, falls on the full moon day of Ashwin month as per Hindu calendar. On Kojagiri Purnima the eldest child is honoured by the parents as per Maharashtrian tradition.
I am an only child and so qualified as the eldest child. :-) I used to look forward to aukshan (arti) followed by a gift from Aai, actually I still do. :-D Another huge attraction of Kojagiri Purnima was the masala milk. Aai, Baba, and I used to have masala doodh in our terrace by the moonlight. It was a fun activity for me; we would keep the electric light off and have masala milk in the full moon’s light.
It is believed that on Sharad Purnima day Goddess Lakshmi goes around from place to place asking “Ko jagrati?” meaning “Who is awake?”. Thus the name of this full moon day came to be Kojagiri Purnima. Believers stay awake till 12 in the night and keep the masala milk in moonlight by midnight before having it. There is a belief that on this full moon day the Earth and Moon are at a close distance and so moonlight provides us medicinal benefits. We didn’t stay awake till midnight but Aai used to keep masala doodh in silver glasses open under the moonlight before we drank it.
While I find the legends and mythological beliefs behind our customs and traditions interesting, I am more interested in finding out the practical reasons behind these traditions. When it comes to festive food, I find that there is usually a close connection between the food and the season we consume it in. On the day of Kojagiri Purnima too we have coolants like milk or kheer, which are good for controlling pitta. Apparently, pitta dosha rises in this season of October heat. So that gives us one more reason to enjoy the yummy masala milk, what say? :-)
Masala Milk Recipe – Kojagiri Purnima Special
- 1 litre whole milk
- 10-15 pcs almonds
- 10-15 pcs pistachios
- pinch of nutmeg powder
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- pinch of saffron strands
- sugar to taste
- Boil half cup water and soak almonds in it for 5-10 minutes.
- Peal almonds and pistachios, and coarsely grind or roughly chop them. (*See the note below if you’re making masala milk for toddlers.)
- Bring milk to a boil and then allow it to simmer on slow flame till it becomes 3/4th of the original quantity. (You will need to keep stirring intermittently to ensure that milk doesn’t spill over.)
- Add sugar and continue to simmer the milk till it reduces some more.
- When the milk reduces to almost half, add saffron strands and mix well.
- Add cardamom and nutmeg powder, and mix well.
- Add chopped almonds and pistachios, and mix well. (I prefer slightly crunchy almond and pista pieces in my masala milk so I don’t add them early on. If you want softer pieces you can add them on earlier.)
- Allow the milk to simmer till it reduces to half the original quantity and then turn off heat.