Rituals of feasting
Food, religion and rituals go hand in hand in most ancient cultures, but more so in India—where many of these traditions survive till date—than anywhere else in the world. It is inevitable then that festivals that mark important moments in the agrarian calendar see concentrated bouts of ritualistic eating of foods dubbed “auspicious”, which are then mandatorily prepared and consumed in homes across regions and communities.
Diwali, one of the biggest celebrations. In the subcontinent is, of course, also a harvest festival. It falls at the end of the kharif season, when the paddy crop comes home. Thus we find that it is rice, in all its forms, that assumes a large ritualistic significance as far as all the feasting goes during the five-day fest. When we were growing up, and perhaps even now in the smaller towns of northern India, the buying of kheel (unthrashed rice) and batashe was a much anticipated event. The sugar often took the form of nicely moulded animals/figures that children could admire and play with before they were placed with the diyas, worshiped and finally eaten. If kheel (that you later dry roast in a pan, and season with rock salt for an instant, low-cal snack) defined rituals in the north, it took on the form of the flattened chivda/poha in the
Be the first to comment.