Mumbai: Hinduism is a faith which gives great importance to rituals. Each ritual or practice has a symbolic meaning. These educate people about the fundamental values of life through simple gestures that have profound meaning. One such ritual is Archana.
We have often seen stalls outside temples selling plates or baskets that consist of flowers, garland, sweets, fruits and coconut. We purchase these to offer to the deity in the temple. After offering these to the deity, the priest hands over another set of thali with sweets and flowers/garland.
In South India, people often offer Archana on special days such as wedding anniversary or birthdays which coincides with the tithi according to the Hindu calendar.
The purpose of Archana is to thank god for giving us all what we need for survival – be it the strength to endure agony or the basic essentials.
It is indeed a thanksgiving gesture that cultivates the habit of sharing and caring. The Prasad offered to the deity is distributed among people and thus the fruits of prayers reach the needy too.
Fruits and flowers are the purest forms of nature’s gifts to humans and hence these are offered to the God to thank him for the bounty.