Jamai Sashti – A Foody Feast For Son-In-Law

Jamai Sashti – A Day When the Son-in-Law is Treated with Food Royalty

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You might have heard about Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and even Sibling’s Day. But have you ever heard about a son-in-law’s day? Well, that is what Jamai Sashti is all about. Celebrated by the Bengali community, the day focuses on the pampering of the son-in-law or the Jamai, by the mother-in-law in the way mothers do it the best.

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Yes, you guessed it right, by feeding them all their favorite treats to their heart’s content. The festival is celebrated on the sixth day or Sashti of Krishna Paksha in the month of Jyestha of the Hindu calendar. You might also be surprised that the festival is supposed to be celebrated since the Vedic times!

Jamai Sashti – Why this celebration for Jamai Raja?

Well, if you are not familiar with Jamai Sashti, let me share with you about this festival. Even though the festival, like most other Hindu festivals, starts with a puja, the focus is mainly on extending the highest level of hospitality or pampering to the son-in-law. After all, he holds the position of utmost respect in all Hindu communities, including the relatively broad-minded Bengali community. On the festival day, the mother-in-law prepares a grand feast (often grudgingly) to show her love for her son-in-law.

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A father-in-law who needs to go to the veg and fish market knows how painful it is for him to manage this ritual of Saas-Jamai. Be it vegetables or fish, sweets or fruits, all are priced pathetically high on that day and will hurt the pocket of a sasur (father-in-law). But what to do, rituals are rituals, and neither the saas can’t stop showing off love for the Jamai nor the Jamai can overlook the lavish food served to him like no less than a Raja.

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Some people even believe that the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”,  is exemplified by the celebration of this festival. So, on this day, the mother-in-law and her son-in-law give rest to the quibbling that is quite common in this relationship. It is a day of dream come true for daughters as they watch their husbands and mothers bond with each other.  It is a great relief for them not defending either side but enjoying their fun-filled banter. And this is despite knowing the fact that it is a temporary bond forced by tradition and only for a single day! Sometimes, many daughters wish to get such pampering and gestures from their Mother-in-law at least for a day!

The Sasuri Ma Saga Begins to Please The Jamai

If you are even slightly aware of how the Bengali people celebrate their festivals, you must surely know that they are anything but boring. Even the rituals associated with celebrating various festivals are quite interesting and exciting. So, you should not expect anything different from the rituals, and celebrations associated with Jamai Sashti!

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The day begins with the loving mother-in-law performing a small puja for her beloved son-in-law. As a part of the puja, she ties the sacred thread on his wrist. We Bengalis believe that tying the thread brings good fortune to the Jamai. In reality, the Sasuma desires that the bond between her jamai and daughter remains safe from the evil eye, and desires to see her daughter happy with Jamai forever after). Given the love of food that the Bengali people are known for, it is not surprising that the puja is not too elaborate.

And Here Comes The Feast – Jamai Raja Ki Pet Puja

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So, once the puja is over, it is time to feed the Jamai, the ritual he has been waiting for. The poor mother-in-law has to get up early in the morning to prepare the vast spread of delicacies to please his Jamai. The feast includes multiple dishes along with different types of desserts, after all, the Bengalis do love their mithai or Mishti. From luchis to aloo dum, to Rui macher jhol, Islish Bhape to bhaja, and shukto, and many more, the mouthwatering spread makes the son-in-law squeamish with culinary pleasure. No Bengali feast is complete with servings of fish, and not just one but at least two to three varieties are served. Eating all these delicacies naturally makes the Jamai Babu feel too full and seek a quiet place for a nap.

Time To Take A Nap For Jamai Raja After the Lavish Lunch – The belly full

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The loving mother-in-law, being well aware of the impact of her culinary competence on her Jamai, makes arrangements for him to take a nap even before he starts enjoying the feast. The Jamai takes up the offer of the nap partly to digest the feast and party to avoid any discomforting questions that might come popping from his dear Saasu Maa. So, as the feast ends, the Jamai needs to change to a more comfortable position to lie down to take the much-needed nap (Eating a grand feast is no small feat at all).

The Humorous Interaction Between Sasu Maa & her Jamai

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The highlight of the day is the exchange of fun-filled and humorous chit-chat between the mother and son-in-law throughout the day. It starts during the feast, and after the Jamai wakes from his nap the interaction continues. These often include jokes about the culinary skills of the mother-in-law, the table manners of the son-in-law, and everything in between. And neither the mother-in-law nor the son-in-law are allowed to take offense (or at least not show it outwardly) by the fun-filled banter. After all, it is the day to strengthen the unique bond they share (and also to give some respite to the poor woman who connects them)!

A Modern Take on Jamai Sashti

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Well, most modern mothers-in-law and sons-in-law tend to share a more congenial relationship. So celebrating Jamai Sashti is no longer just about preparing and eating elaborate meals. It now includes the ritual of presenting gifts to the Jamai Babu as an expression of love. Well, the gesture of the Jamai Rajas of Bengal for Sasuma remains different from the Son-in-laws of other parts of India. In Bengal, the Jamai also gifts a saree, a basket full of mangoes, and sweets to his Sasuri as a mark of respect equivalent to his mother. As if the promise of a delicious feast and great hospitality were not enough, the sons-in-law now have yet another reason to await the Jamai Sashti eagerly.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Zariya Healings.

This post is part of the #BlogchatterFoodFest by Blogchatter.