- Incarnation of Goddess Parvati: Goddess Annapurna is considered an aspect of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. She embodies the divine aspect of nourishment and sustenance.
- The Tale with Lord Shiva: There's a well-known legend where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati play a cosmic game. Lord Shiva declares everything in the world, including food, to be an illusion. Goddess Parvati, who is responsible for nourishing the world, wants to teach Shiva and the world the importance of food. She disappears, causing the Earth to become barren and devoid of food. Seeing the plight of the beings, Lord Shiva acknowledges the crucial role of food in sustaining life. Goddess Parvati then reappears in the form of Goddess Annapurna and offers food to Lord Shiva, symbolizing the nourishing aspect of the Divine Mother.
- Varanasi Temple: One of the most famous temples dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is located in Varanasi, India. Here, she is depicted with a golden ladle filled with food in one hand and a container full of grains in the other.
- Universal Provider: Goddess Annapurna signifies the divine aspect of provisioning and nourishing. Just as a mother ensures her children are well-fed, Annapurna ensures that no being in the universe goes hungry.
- Cycle of Life: The act of nourishing and being nourished symbolizes the cycle of life, the interdependence of beings, and the importance of giving and sharing in maintaining balance in the universe.
- Spiritual Nourishment: Beyond physical nourishment, Annapurna also represents the spiritual food required for the soul. It signifies that while physical food sustains our bodies, spiritual nourishment is essential for the soul.
- Grains and Prosperity: The pot of grains that she holds is not just a symbol of food but also of abundance, prosperity, and the richness of life.
- Annapurna Jayanti: Celebrated on the Margashirsha Purnima (full moon day in the month of Margashirsha), it's dedicated to the goddess. Devotees offer food to the poor, perform special pujas, and seek her blessings for prosperity and nourishment.
- Daily Offerings: Many households in India invoke the blessings of Annapurna before their meals as a sign of gratitude for the food they receive.