It is a well known custom in Hinduism to offer the first share of sweets to the Gods. The food then becomes the prasad. A prasad is the most pious form of food. Many true devotees also believe that a prasad, be it the most plain food, is much more tastier than various other delicious dishes. Whether this is merely a belief or reality, the devotees love to offer the first share to the Gods. As believed by many devotees of Lord Ganesha, if you offer a bite from a Laddu to Ganesha and then taste it, it will be less sweeter than the other Laddus from the same lot/heap. They believe that Ganesha tastes it and takes away a part of its sweetness. This way they get to now whether God has accepted their offering or not.
There are many foods which are believed to be the favourite of the deities, because of one or the other legend that goes behind them. These offerings are known as Naivedya. Generally a preparation is made which is known as the Panchamrit. This offering is common to all the Gods. It is a mixture of five items. 'Panch' means five and 'amrit' means nectar, thereby meaning, a nectar made of five items. These five items are - raw milk, boiled milk, curd, ghee, and butter. This is offered in all the worships and is considered the purest form of offering to any deity.
From the whole food, a part only is offered to the Gods, then a portion from the offered food is taken and mixed with the whole lot. It is believed that doing this makes the whole food pure. It is seen as a blessing from the deities. The more number of people the prasad is shared with, the better it is. Therefore, this prasad is distributed among all.
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Favourite Foods For All The Gods
Depending on what food a deity likes, an offering is prepared as prasad on a festival, or a fasting day. Here we have given a list, detailing about the various favourite food items for the most celebrated Hindu deities. You can take a reference from it.
Let us begin with Lord Ganesha, who is always invoked in the beginning of every puja and before all the other deities. Lord Ganesha loves to eat modak. Modakas are made from rice flour, ghee and jaggery. Ganesha can be seen eating one or sitting with a tray of many Modakas in every depiction.
According to one story Mata Parvati had once prepared a divine Modak. It was decided that a race around the world would be held between the two brothers, Ganesha and Kartikeya. The winner would get the bigger share. While Kartikeya took not even a moment to get, set and go, Lord Ganesha took three rounds around his parents saying that they are his real world. Hence, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati appreciated him and he was made the winner. Ganesha is, therefore, offered Modak as his favourite food.
Goddess Durga can be offered any item made of rice. Majority of her devotees offer her kheer, a preparation made using milk and rice. When on the fasting days, the devotees have to avoid eating grains, they may offer her pure ghee, milk, sugar,honey, jaggery, coconut and sesame seeds. Lord Vishnu has said in Srimad Devi Bhagvatam, that one should offer flour cake to the Goddess.
Kheer and Shrifal are the symbols of wealth and prosperity. Therefore, these are always included in the offerings to her. 'Shri' means Lakshmi and 'fal' means fruit. This fruit is available round the year. So you can get it easily.
All that is dear to Goddess Durga is also dear to Goddess Kali. She is therefore offered sweets made of rice flour and wheat flour along with the seasonal fruits. Many people offer blood also to this deity, as 'Bali' meaning sacrifice, on special occasions and for special wishes.
Goddess Saraswati is considered to be every simple, peace lover and intelligent. She is the Goddess of all arts. You can offer Khichdi in order to please her and seek her blessings. The Khichdi can be prepared using nuts ghee and sugar. Other sweets of choice and seasonal fruits can be offered to her. Many also offer her Kheer as she is just another form of Goddess Durga.
Bhang and milk are the major offerings to this deity. All seasonal fruits and especially panchamrit are dear to Lord Shiva. Moreover, he is a deity who can be pleased with the minimal offerings. That is why, he is also known as - Bhole Shankar.
Yellow coloured foods are all dear to Lord Vishnu. Lord Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is offered Gopalkala, Shrikhand and Pedha on his birth anniversary. Rice and a dish made using fifty six items are also offered to him. This special dish of fifty six items is also known as Chhappan Bhog.
Lord Hanuman likes to eat Laddus. There is also a tradition to offer red lentils soaked in water with jaggery, to him.
Shani Dev, Rahu And Ketu, Goddess Bhairavi
Black colour is very dear to these deities. Therefore, they are worshiped by offering, black sesame seeds and black lentils. Mustard oil is also dear to Shani Dev, Goddess Bhairavi and to Goddess Mahakali. These are used to make special dishes on special occasions for worshiping them. Items cooked in mustard oil are dear to Shani Dev, Goddess Bhairavi and Goddess Mahakali.
Lord Kuber likes items made in yellow colour. He may be offered Laddu, yellow custard or even kheer. Seasonal fruits and panchamrit are other items that you can offer.