The tulsi plant is held sacred by the Hindus as it is regarded as an
incarnation of Mahalaxmi who was born as Vrinda. The festival of Tulsi Vivah
is celebrated in each and every household of Goa. The one special feature of
the festival is that of preparing various delicious sweet dishes at home.
The women folk engage themselves in preparations well in advance. A typical
Goan ojhe (load of sweets) is sent to the daughter from her parental home
along with jodi (cotton threads used to light lamp while performing aarti).
Tulsi was married to demon king Jalandhar. But she prayed to Lord Vishnu
that her demon husband would be protected, with the result that no god was
able to harm him. However on the request of the other gods, Lord Vishnu took
the form of Jalandhar and stayed with the unsuspecting Tulsi. When the truth
emerged after Jalandhar's death, Vrinda crused Vishnu and turned him to
stone (Shaligram) and collapsed. From her body emerged the tulsi plant. That
is why Vishnu pooja is considered incomplete without tulsi leaves. Tulsi
vivah is celebrated on the next day of Kartiki Akadashi. On this day tulsi
is married to Shaligram.
On this day tulsivrindavan is coloured and decorated as a bride. Sugarcane
and branches of tamarind and amla trees are planted along with the tulsi
plant. Only vegetarian food is cooked on this day. At midday, a full meal
consisting of rice, moongachi gathi, puri , sweet potato kheer , red pumpkin
vegetable cooked with pieces of sugarcane, amla and tamarind is offered to
Tulsi Vrindavan. Tulsi vivah ceremony takes place in the late evening.
Various poha dishes are offered to Lord Vishnu. Then prasad is distributed
among family members and friends.