Friday, October 30, 2015

History behind Halloween

On 31 October, people don outfits, carve pumpkins, trick-or-treat - - but why? Well I wrote this previous post about Halloween Decorations and some people asked me what is Halloween. It appears so that I never did a post about the history of Halloween. So here it is what I found.


The post could appear a little biased but at least this post would give you guys a basic idea about Halloween, rituals, origin etc. ENJOY! 


What is the history behind Halloween?


The origin of the festival is sourced by both pagan and Christian practices that have evolved into what Halloween is like today. The word 'Halloween' probably came from 'Hallowed evening', and is the day before All Hallows Day - also known as All Saints' Day.

Some also believe that it originates from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, meaning 'Summer's End' which celebrated the end of harvest season. Their ancestors believed that it was a time of the year when the walls between our world and the next became thin and porous, allowing spirits to pass through, come back to life on the day and damage their crops.


The origins of trick or treating and dressing up was also their in the 16th century in Ireland, Scotland and Wales where people went door-to-door in costume asking for food in exchange for a poem or song. Many dressed up as souls of the dead!


On the day places were set at the dinner table to appease and welcome the spirits. People also offer food and drink to the souls and light bonfires to ward off the evil spirits. The Christian origin of the holiday was set in the eighth century as well. They would honour saints and pray for souls who have not yet reached heaven, on Halloween.

Why do we dress up and go trick-or-treating?

Ancient people dressed up in white with blackened faces during the festival of Samhain to trick the evil spirits that they believed would be roaming the earth before All Saints' Day on 1 November.


By the 11th century, this practice had been adapted by the Church into a tradition called 'souling', which is the origin of current trick-or-treating. Children go door-to-door, asking for soul cakes in exchange for praying for the souls of friends and relatives. They went dressed up as angels, demons or saints.


The soul cakes were sweet, with a cross marked on top; when eaten they represented a soul being freed from purgatory.In the 19th century, souling gave way to guising or mumming, when children would offer songs, poetry and jokes - instead of prayer - in exchange for fruit or money, while wearing costumes.

Adventurous Costumes 

In Victorian ages, they were influenced by gothic themes including bats and ghosts. Later, costumes became influenced by pop culture. Now you may see a costume of Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, The Vampire Diaries Costumes for the adults and ban 10, Alice in Wonderland, Hallow Kitty Costumes for the kids.


Why do we carve pumpkins?

The carving of pumpkins also seems to originates from the Samhain festival, difference is people use to carve turnips to ward off spirits and stop fairies from settling in houses. Now a days people carve pumpkins and lit candles or lights in these.


Jack O'Lantern is actually came from the folkloric story of Stingy Jack, who fooled the devil into buying him a drink. He was not let into heaven or hell - and when he died, the devil threw him a burning ember which he kept in a turnip.


Halloween Decorations

People decorate their houses with spooky and weird stuff that may include certain types of colors, lighting and material. The holiday is turning into a complete fun package for those who love to do spooky things or enjoy decorating their houses using uncanny imagination. For cute last minute ideas visit - Last minute decoration ideas for Halloween


Thanks for reading. Use #MSaysHalloween on any social media to tag me on your Halloween Posts. :) 

Mugdha 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Last minute decoration ideas for Halloween

Indians are yet to accept HALLOWEEN as much as they have accepted Valentines Day, Friendship Day, Mothers/Fathers/Daughters Day or even the fun loving side of Christmas. The reason could be that Halloween is associated with spooky and creepy looking objects while usually in the month of October and November we remain in the mood of Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali.

But all the communities have some rebels who exactly know, how to spread the craze of something new. Consider this post as a rebel. If you are just like me, we are good to go. 

So you just remembered Halloween is coming and you want something,  a little spooky around the house! You don't know how to create that something, specially because we don't have a hobby lobby or target, here in India and Indian Marts usually don't have such stuff in their shelves.

I have a list of Last-minute easy DIY Halloween Decorations ideas for inside and outside of your home that can easily be done within the next two days. 

Front Porch Spiderweb: Pretty self-explanatory! You need some white rope to create the web design. It can be hooked anywhere and easy to made. Start with a basic frame of one vertical length of rope and one horizontal on any wall. That should look like a +. Make a X on the previous frame and it should look like a X on top of +. 



After that start weaving the rope in loose circles and keep tying knots on each passing ropes that are plus and X framed. I started with the spirals closer together at the center and got farther apart as I made my way toward the edges. It doesn't need to be perfect and symmetrical. Natural spider webs aren't.

Ghost Silhouette Night Light: Take any LED Night Light and stick black craft paper on it. The trick is to stick craft paper in such shape that when you lit the light it shows silhouette of a face.



Take your scissor cut two square shape piece of paper for eyes and one in the shape of lemon slice. The shapes not have to be perfect and stick them on the LED light using light glue. You may also use a black tape. When you lit the LED light, facing any plain wall, the spooky silhouette will appear out of no where.. :) 

Ghost Lights: You are gonna need Cheesecloth or some solid yet semi transparent cloth. A light set (white cord preferred), black cloth or craft paper for Silhouette, glue and scissors.



Start with cutting the cloth in small square and rectangular pieces. Drape the cloth pieces on the light vine and check if the light is coming out perfectly. Then stick the pieces of black cloth or craft paper on the cheese cloth in the shape of a eyes and mouth. 

Drape the cloth pieces again on the light and stick it on the wire by using some glue and voila... you cute little ghost light is all set. Hang and enjoy!

Fun Halloween Balloons: I am literally not going to explain this one. Use your imagination and enjoy the creepy decor.. :)



Bloody Pillar Candle: It is such an easy DIY. The tricky part is to search desired colored candles. All you need are while pillar candles, preferably in a simple shape and a red waxed candle.



Lit the red one and let the wax drop on the white one. First cover the upper surface and later let the wax travel on the sides. Kids should take help of their parents. Let the red wax dry and lit the while one.. The creepy bloody candle will set the mood for Halloween.

Pumpkin Boo: In India we don't find the bright orange colored pumpkin but we do have stationary shops nearby our houses. So buy a pumpkin and paint it orange. Do at least two coats for better look and then either paint the word BOO on it or stick some pins or button on it for the 3-D look.



Remember this decor is rather less durable and you might want to put it on the balcony or near door so that your room don't smell like pumpkin after a while.

Many people spend days and even a small fortune to decorate their homes on Halloween. Use these ideas that would cost you quite less yet gives you a scary, Halloweeny look! Enjoy the day. 

Thanks for reading and use #MSaysHalloween on twitter/facebook/google plus or any of the other social media to tag me on your Halloween Posts. Do leave a comment below or on the social networking sites if you would use these idea. Share your pictures as well.



Happy Halloween!

Mugdha 


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ravan was Sita's Father? Myth or True

On the occasion of Dussehra, lets brush up our knowledge, half cooked knowledge a little bit. The day is celebrated as the victory of good over evil... But...


But... Ramayana has more than 300 versions. And one of the version of ramayan suggests that Ravana and Mandorai's first born was a girl was Sita, but due to the astrological prediction that the first born would be the reason for his destruction and complete 'Asur' society, Ravana threw away the kid in a basket, unluckily for him the baby was celestial and didn't died.

The Jain version of Ramayan says that Sita was the daughter of Ravana. Sita was a reincarnation of Vedavati (an avatar of Lakshmi), an orphan lady. Legend has it that Vedavati, a pious woman, wanted to marry Vishnu. To marry Vishnu, she gave up worldly life and became a hermit and built an ashram on a riverbank.

Once Vedavati was meditating on the riverbank, when Ravana, happened to see her. He was enamored by her beauty and tried to violate her. To escape from Ravana she jumped into a fire pit created for yajna.


Before dying she cursed Ravan that in her next birth she will be responsible for his death. In her next birth, Vedavati was born as Ravana’s daughter. Soon after she was born, a voice from the sky warned that the baby will be responsible for his death.

To save his life, Ravana threw the little girl child into the sea. The child fell on the lap of sea-goddess Varuni. Goddess Varuni took the girl child to the shores and gave her to earth-goddess Pirthvi. Goddess Prithvi then gave her to King Janaka. As per Ramayana, Sita was found by King Janaka while ploughing a field.

Now this story could be hard to digest but as we know mythologies have many versions that sometimes do not suited us but they are there. According to some scripts Ravana have ten heads but they were not actual heads instead his ten heads symbolize his immense intelligence. One man with the power of ten brains.


Other things that one not probably know is that, Ravana was a very talented musician.
He created the Rudra Veena, an Indian classical instrument. There is many temples of Ravana in Kanpur, Jodhpur, Kakinada. Specially the Kanpur one which opens once a year, on the morning of Dussehra. Many people visit this temple on the occasion Dussehra and play in-front of the idol.

The good thing about Hindu mythologies is that there are many version to check and cross check the incident. In all the version one might not find Ravana as devil as it is portrayed in the Valmiki version. Well the fight is there in all the versions.


I tried to gather facts and claims from different sources. Hope you all find it interesting and amusing if not true. Happy Dussehra and Ram Naumi to all.

Mugdha


Monday, October 19, 2015

MSM Express Box October 2015 - Review

I received the My Style Mile (MSM) 'Rose Limited Edition' Express Box about five days ago and since than I was trying to write about it. First I thought it would be just an unboxing post but since I am able to use the product, I can give you guys a mini review as well.

It is their 1st birthday box and the packaging is super cute with beautiful rose print on it! As the theme suggests, the contents of the box are also rose based ones, at least majority of them! I also purchased something from their shop, so that item was also there in my box.


So lets begin with the box first then I'll share about the product that I ordered to pamper me in this fall season. You may comment below about the review and how do you like the products or not and also leave your comments with #MugdhaSaysFall hashtag at Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc so that I can read your comments.

1) Innisfree; Squeeze Mask - Rose(20 ml) : I love sheet masks. They are no nonsense, easy to wear and easy to remove masks. I have used green tea and cucumber variant of Innisfree in summers and that left my skin, super cool. Now I used the rose one and man it's strong. The fragrance is bit too high for me but I love my afterwards skin. Completely fresh and lightened.It costs around INR 100/- and it's really worth it.


2) Natural Bath & Body Rose and Almond Soap (125 gm) : Very sensuous rose fragrance, heavenly and quite long lasting.Even before opening the wrapper,the fragrance spreads all over the room. Cost INR 175/-. Beautiful baby pink colored soap, along with dried rose petals embedded in it. It hydrates the skin well. Best about it is that it is preservative and cruelty free.


3) SAANTE Luxurious Rose Lip Balm : I wanted to try Saante products and finally in this box,I got the chance. The balm is actually a tinted lip balm which gave a sheen to the lips. The texture is soft. I am happy to try it!Priced at INR 250/-


4) Saante Orange Essential Oil : This is the second product from Saante and it costs around INR 300/-.I like to use essential oils. This one is hand crafted with fresh and natural ingredients. If you put it on your table, less then half minute, you would started to feel autumn around you. Orangy scent is yum.. 


5) Rose & Sandal wood Candle : Hand crafted  beeswax candle with pure essential oils of rose& sandalwood. This candle smells absolutely divine with the dominant sandal wood fragrance and a hint of roses.Worth Rs. 245/- 


So,these are the products which I received in the October MSM Box. Final Thoughts : I really liked all the products from this month's box. Let me know your views about this October MSM box.


----------

Finally the sixth item in the box, that I purchased from the MSM shop is a body mist from Bath and Body. It's from their natural line and the name is Beautiful Day - Sun Kissed Happiness. It cost me Rs 325 and you can purchase it here.


They claim: Our Beautiful Day Body Mist manages to captures a hint of happiness and a dash of sunshine in a bottle! Perk up your mornings with a fragrant burst that blends floral top notes with nuances of fresh zesty-ness. This gorgeous aromatic expression completely envelops you, to ensure that you’ll have your sunny side up, all day long!

My Review: I can give 50 thumbs up to their claim :) after wearing this, you will feel that you are crossing by a flower shop or better by a garden with full of flowers and earthy fragrances :) I want this to be my signature fragrance... always! 

Well we have a rather long post here :) thanks for being patient and thank you for reading it!

Mugdha 




Monday, October 12, 2015

Culinary Tourism - for authentic food experience!

Next in my fall series, #MugdhaSaysFall, I am sharing this article on food. Technically it is not based on the season but it sure will give you that cozy feeling :) Read on!

This post is brought to you by Traveling Spoon! I have their site link below.. make sure to visit their site to know more... they are absolutely wonderful!

In words of Traveling Spoon - With over 150+ hosts in 36 cities in 16 countries, Traveling Spoon is now looking for home chefs in Agra who can showcase their culinary traditions with the world of travelers in their homes. Anyone who is passionate about food, is an amazing cook, loves to entertain and meet people from all over the world., is welcome to join our wonderful host community.

Now that's what I know, experienced and written in my article... Lets start with the concept.. Culinary Tourism.

Culinary Tourism is a new hype for tourists who are visiting Agra for beyond the Taj experience. Traditional tribal mores of hosting strangers for home cuisine is also becoming part of the urban veins.



Some of the most brilliant memories of vacations are often related with the food. When British decided to stay in India, they probably stayed for the food. A person could forget the place but if he or she enjoyed the platter, then it is hard for them to forget the place as well.



A cooking expert Geeta say, “The concept in not new but the way of presentation is changed with time. I really like the modern avatar of culinary tourism. Cooking is my passion and have been taking cooking classes for over 28 years.”

“I have been watching shows like 'Zaike ka safar' , 'Highway'  and 'Kacha raasta' and I always thought I wish I could be part of it. So I decided to give it a try. Traveling Spoon helped me to developed the new idea in the city and I am sure I will enjoy the experience,” said Geeta a potential host for many imminent tourists.



“India, especially Agra is the foodies’ hub and soon the culinary tourism is to be introduced by our community,” informed Neha Kuriakose, the regional community head of Traveling Spoon. Neha affirmed that food of Agra is the second most important thing that can attract the global tourists.

Neha specified the concept of culinary tourism. “The trend of culinary tourism allows a person to discover various cultures in a small span of time. The home cooks invite travelers for the ‘desi’ food experiences and introduce them a bit about Indian cooking.”



So why a person should eat at home, instead of eating in the restaurant, I asked. “While eating in the restaurants, travelers are most likely to miss the authentic food that a city can offer. When a person cook with the ingredients that used to employ by their great grand parents then the recipe will turn out 100 percent authentic as compare to the restaurants,” added Neha.



“Culinary tourism gives tourist a chance for cultural exchange as well. Along with the homemade meals cooking classes and a round of the local market was also given to the tourist so they can understand the basics at least,” explained Neha.

Aarti Singh, another home chef of Agra said, “I always on the lookout for new smells and flavours and when I decided to invite people at home, I know that not only they would able to taste the dishes, but I also able to learn their techniques.”



To know more about how you can be a host, please visit : Traveling Spoon


The post is in article form, which I had written for Hindustan Times. Language is changed though! Sharing this article image for those who wanted to read the newspaper article!



Mugdha

Monday, October 5, 2015

Autumn/Fall Essentials - 2015

Autumn is the season of liberty. Instead of being green,leaves can choose between yellow, red, brown and orange.  I live for autumn. Autumn spells hoodies and cardigans, crisp air and flushed cheeks, hot cocoa, cup cakes and candies and for some Just Soccer... Things that autumn brings, are endless! So I thought to do a little Autumn/Fall Essentials post! Just to blend with the season..

So lets get started.. :) 

1) Pumpkins....they make me smile, use them as a decoration piece or for recipes.. they scream AUTUMN...



2) Fragrances... Use potpourri with dried fruits and nuts to make your house smell like fall 

Use scented candles with spice, musk and earthy fragrance notes..




One can also use fresh scents such as peeled apple, hint of pumpkin, scents of eucalyptus, mint, pear and sage. There are as many options available as much as you want! 

3) Warmth... With an infusion of berry, mustard and olive, pick your blankets and throw on in advance... before the real chill begins



4) Movies for the season... must be spicy yet light.. go for Hocus pocus, Halloweentown, Casper and the goes on.. These movies will give you the mood of the season.. 


5) Fall Decorations... As the leaves change outside, keep in mind that those changing colors can be perfect for fall-inspired decor. Go for warm colors, touches of nature, and autumn-inspired look.



  • Use fruits, chestnuts, acorns, nuts, berries, or another fall feature to make easy centerpiece
  • Bring together an array of autumn colors with a mix-and-match arrangement of flowers or go for a bouquet of autumn leaves
  • Add seasonal style and functionality to your living spaces by draping cozy blankets across the backs of chairs
  • Hints of exposed wood -- especially those with a prominent grain -- always feel at home in autumn


Make your room/apartment/home fall ready and enjoy the best season of the year! I'll be back with more posts in my fall series.. use hashtag - #MugdhaSaysFall and share your fall pictures/recipes/decorations with me..

Thanks you for reading :)

Mugdha


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Jewellery Passion

How colorful your life become after wearing those precious little bijouterie which (either real or artificial) make your attire complete. Say it wedding or first date or casual parties, girls wants to look good, and jewellery is the necessary part of it.

In India, it is must to wear earrings and even nose pin in few communities. Some say bangles are part of their culture and for others anklets (payal) is their routine apparel. Personal ornaments act beyond a simple fashion part, instead they tie together individuals, societies, and ethnic groups.

Lets see how do you like the fine jewellery collection and depicting a new trend!






You can find above collection at MugdhaSays Store. Pick your favorite/s before they vanished. Each piece is unique.. no one can have the same pieces and that's the fun part! 

Check out for more jewelries, bags and other goodies too.. visit Stop here - Shop here. If you have any queries, do let me know in the comment section below. Shoppers can also contact me at mugdhasinghblogging@gmail.com

Thank you for reading guys :) 

Mugdha