Annapurna Jayanti is a festival dedicated to Goddess Annapurna – Hindu goddess of food and cooking. It is observed on the full moon day in the month of Margashirsh. In some regions an Annapurna Vrat is observed during the period. Goddess
Annapurna is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. In 2013, Annapurna Jayanti date is December 17.
Legend has it that once the food on earth was not replenished and soon the food started getting over. Living beings were in a danger of starving. Human beings prayed to Brahma and Vishnu and they together awoke Lord Shiva from his yoganidra (sleep). He agreed to restore prosperity and food on earth.
It is believed that Parvati took the form of Goddess Annapurna. Shiva roamed around the earth and begged for rice from
Annapurna and he distributed it among living beings.
It is also said that while Shiva is engaged in helping his devotees in attaining Moksha in Kashi, Goddess Annapurna looks after life and makes sure that food is available to all living beings that arrive at Kashi.
On Annapurna Jayanthi, special prayers are held at temples dedicated to Goddess Annapurna.