Jamai Sasthi: Feast of the Son-in-law

Jamai Sasthi is a traditional celebration of West Bengal dedicated exclusively to the son-in-law in order to cement strongly the ties of the husband and married daughters families. It is an event in which the mother-in-law cooks for the son-in-law the best delicacies that include seasonal fruits, fish, rice, curry, and sweets. In West Bengal state, this day is very popular at each house.

On this day, the son-in-law is invited to the house of his mother-in-law, where he is welcomed in a traditional manner. The mother-in-law blesses him so that her daughter and her mother-in-law will lead a perfect family life, and will have sons and daughters by the grace of the Shashthi deity. This is done by pouring grass and grains over the head of her son-in-law, which is very favorable.

This is nothing more than a ritual to honor the motherhood of her child, by welcoming and maintaining the son-in-law in the house of his father-in-law. The mother-in-law is expected to maintain the continuity of motherhood through her daughter's line. This ritual is performed especially in Bengali families after the first years of the daughter's wedding, until the birth of the first child.

The festival is combined with reciprocal gifts and a rich meal (mainly fish and desserts) with the favorite dishes of the son-in-law, which is served in the house of the mother-in-law. However, this practice is carried out without the memory of the real meaning of this ritual.

There are prayers and exchange of gifts and the mother-in-law binds the wrist of the son-in-law with a thread of turmeric for the well-being of the couple. In many areas, the goddess Sashti is worshiped in the day for the well-being of children. Shashthi is also seen as a goddess of fertility and reproduction that blesses people with children and keeps them from miscarriages.

However, it is presumably due to an older oral tradition. She is mainly worshiped by women. When she was originally mainly malevolent (a kidnapper, murderer, and devourer of the newborns), she is now viewed exclusively as a benevolent goddess, who is regarded as the child's savior and protector. Women partially fast on this day and eat only fruits. In some regions, women also wear a thread around the wrist.

In Bengal, all kinds of things are placed for the goddess, an earthen pitcher covered with a napkin, peeled and cooked rice, bananas and sweets, bracelets, and pieces of gold and silver. The mother lays there pen and paper on a table, believing that the goddess Shashthi would come to the house and write with conspicuous ink congratulations for the child on a piece of paper and bless it for his future life. On the other hand, a lump of cow dung in a red cloth or paper with cinnabar is placed in the chamber. Here, the newborn is oiled and festively clothed with clothes and rings. The naming ceremony follows.

Bóndadagur is celebrated in Iceland. On this day wives pamper their husbands. Bóndadagur also marks the beginning of the month of old Icelandic Thorri, during which mid-winter Þórrablót festivities are held in the country. Wives offer their husbands traditional Icelandic food or flowers. The food is usually served in a trough which is any item of wood from the past.

Many families on Bóndadagur cook the traditional Thorri food of dried fish, smoked lamb, putrefied shark and soured blood and liver pudding, along with other meat products, including sour balls. Typical Þorri consists among other things of pickled ram balls, acidic whale, fields, sviðasultu, dried fish, smoked lamb, laufabrauði and hárkarli. The delicacies are often washed down with a sip or two of brennivín, Icelandic schnapps.

Hrútspungar is the ram's testicles, pressed and stored in the milk serum, and have a sweet taste, slightly acidic, while the consistency is particularly, though similar to the smooth roe.

Hákarl is the fermented shark, usually kept underground for months to lose harmful substances, then air dried. It serves in ice from a bite and is accompanied with the brennivín frozen. It is divided into two parts, glerhákarl (glass shark), the closer to the skin piece that is chewy and semi-opaque, and skyrhákarl (shark skyr), the inner part, more tender. Both have a pretty strong flavor.

Often they use sheep's head cut in two, called svið, along with sviðasulta, fresh or aged cheese that is a must of Thorri party. The heads are boiled until they lose all bones while the meat (with the eyes, the tongue and everything else) is pressed into a mold along with a part of the cooking liquid form of gelatin.

The Icelandic women celebrate this day by bringing her husband out to dinner or preparing them a good meal made at home with a nice steak. Most Icelandic husbands receive a good special beer called Thorri.

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