Life in a bittersweet dish

New Year comes once a year, right? Wrong! If you are an Indian, you can celebrate New Year’s Day several times a year, for, every region and state celebrates it on different days. Each one has a different name and is also celebrated in different ways. But the joy and hope of an unfolding new year is common to all.

It is celebrated as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Vishu in Kerala, Bihu in Assam, Cheiraoaba in Manipur, Nabo Barsho in Bengal, Baisakhi in Punjab, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. I don’t know what the other states call their respective New Year’s days. If you know, do share them with me.  Why just New Year, we have so many festivals which are region and religion specific, that one can be in a celebratory mode throughout the year!  But unlike festivals, some of which call for strict adherence to religious rituals and customs, including fasting, New Year is more of  a social function  and calls for rejoicing and feasting.

What is more, the celebrations are as varied as the regions and the people. If there is the lovely dance on Bihu, there is the robust Bhangra in Punjab and the colurful gudi in Maharashtra, and the flower rangolis in Kerala and of course the feasts in all the states! My vote goes to the Indian new year celebrations in comparison to the 31st December parties.

Look at the rangoli my little one made!

Look at the rangoli my little one made!

The Tamil Puthandu falls on 14th of April this year.

In preparation for the big day, the house is cleaned and colourful rangolis are made at the entrance and inside the house, mango leaves are strung across the top of the threshold and flowers adorn the shrine. There is no strict adherence to any religious ritual  except for a ceremonial bath,  wearing of new clothes, doing puja, going to temples and offering a variety of dishes to the Gods – and then the grand finale – feasting on the yummy dishes! In some households there is the ritual of reading the panchangam or almanac of the forthcoming year. Otherwise it is a time for rejoicing and hope.

The feast is an elaborate one, with kheer, vadas, raita, two varieties of subzi, kosumalli (a salad made with soaked moong dal and garnished with tomatoes, coriander, cucumber and lemon juice), aviyal, mango pachadi, (chutney) a coconut-curd based stew), panagam (jaggery dissolved in water and flavored with cardamom, black pepper and lemon juice), and neer mor (watery buttermilk with a tadka of mustard, hing and curry leaves). The last two are cooling and suited for the summer, which is just setting in at the time of Puthandu

If you thought that the feast is all sweet and savoury, you are mistaken. There is one ingredient which is mandatory – neem flowers, which are in full bloom at this time of the year! And we all know how bitter it can be. So what is bitterness doing on the happy occasion of New Year, you ask? Well, isn’t life bittersweet? It is to emphasise this truth that our forebears included it as part of the first feast of the year.

And that brings us to the mango and neem pachadi. It symbolises life itself — with the good and the bad, the sorrows and the joys, sweetness and bitterness.  Another unique thing about it is that it incorporates all the six tastes advocated by Ayurveda to be included in every meal to maintain a perfect balance of good health. In Tamil, we call the six tastes arusuvai:  sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.

The pachadi made by the Cybernag

The pachadi made by the Cybernag

For this pachadi, we use jaggery (sweet), raw mangoes (sour), salt (salty), green chillies (pungent or spicy), neem flowers (bitter) and turmeric (astringent). While I use fresh neem flowers if available, dried flowers can also be used, after lightly sautéing them in a little ghee. My mother used to make neem flower pachadi separately. That had tamarind instead of mango for the sour taste with the rest of the ingredients being the same.

You can try your own recipe to make this delicious dish. Or try it my way: Peel, chop and cook the raw mango in a little water with a little turmeric and salt till it is soft. If you are using raw neem flowers add about a tablespoonful of it to the mangoes when it is almost cooked. Add jaggery and cook till it is well combined. Make a tempering of mustard seeds and a couple of slit green chillies. (If you are using dry neem flowers, sauté it in a little ghee till it turns nearly black and then add it to the pachadi in the end. Don’t cook after adding neem flowers in this case).

When you eat this pachadi, remember what it stands for : Life in its myriad shades and moods is bittersweet but taken as a whole, is delicious.

Wish you all a very happy new year ahead!

98 comments

  1. Happy Tamil New Year to you and your family

    Like

    1. Thanks a lot KP.wish you and your family a great new year too 🙂

      Like

  2. Iniya Tamizh puththaandu nalvaazhththukkal, Zephyr!

    Good explantion of our festival. Yes, we are lucky to be born Indians! We are cooking so many different varieties of food because of the religious festivals throughout the year! I did veppampoo mangaa pachchadi too!

    Like

    1. Oh yes, my mother used to celebrate Ugadi, as our village was close to Andhra border and later we lived for many years in Andhra. When in Nagpur, our neighbours shared the Gudi padwa gppdies with us and so on. So you don’t do bevu bella, is it being a Kannadiga but manga pachadi living in TN? 🙂

      Like

  3. What a delightful read this is today! Thank you for sharing the little and big details about the special feast. As a Punjabi growing up in Delhi, we sort of missed any special feasts or festivities associated with Baisakhi. But I remember my Tamilian friend in the neigbhorhood dressing up for this day and we would also get to taste some of the food her mom would cook, though I never really bothered about the details of anything she would offer 🙂
    I wish you and your family happy new year. And may all the life’s diverse colours and tastes bring you greater wisdom and peace.

    Like

    1. Tamilians and other migrants from the south clung to the rituals and customs even more than their counterparts in the respective states, much like the NRIs do abroad 🙂 For me, festivals meant the feast and so cooked up all the stuff religiously. Remember, this was all in the pre-reaching back to the starting point in my spiritual journey? I used to leave the religious part to the elders in the family 🙂 Thank you so much for the wishes. You know, one advantage of being an Indian is that we can begin a new year so many times in the year 😀

      Like

  4. The Gujarati New Year, for that matter, happens to have no name, just ‘Navu Varas’ aka New Year in Gujju. Or we may use ‘Besta Varshe’ aka ‘in the sitting year’ (pedantically, but actually meaning at the coming new year’s day) in spoken Gujarati. Simple reason why we don’t have a name for it. It happens to be preceded by another festival, you see.

    Given that the New Year actually arrives the day (or two) after Diwali, I doubt any gourmand will leave unsatisfied. It is in fact a ritual that everyone goes to their friends’ and families’ houses to wish them for the new year, and partakes in the sweet spread spread out for the same.

    Regards,
    Grond

    Like

    1. Thanks for the info on Gujarati New Year, Harshal. The reason why I might be upset with you for commenting on this post so late is because the readers missed out on this info 😦 Never mind, I can always update it and post it next year, right? 😀

      Like

  5. G.N. Balakrishnan · · Reply

    I would like to observe that what is sweet for the palate is not good for one’s health and what is bitter is almost always very good for one’s health.

    Like

    1. Exactly and that is why our ancestors created all these food codes and made them part of our festivals. 🙂

      Like

  6. Saru (@SaruSinghal) · · Reply

    Indian new year(s) are far better than the English. In our celebrations there is a touch of warmth. BTW, even I am fast asleep when people are raising toasts and hugging each other…

    Like

    1. A girl after my heart! There is so much warmth as you say, not to speak of the colour and taste 🙂

      Like

  7. How fortuitous to come across a recipe calling for neem flowers when every morning these days my balcony is covered with a carpet of those little blooms–we have these huge neem trees right next to our building. Will surely try my hand at making this pachadi.

    I loved what you said about life being bitter-sweet but delicious when taken as a whole. True enough!

    And that is a nice rangoli–your grandaughter sure has a wonderful sense of colour and symmetry.

    Happy new year to you and your family, Zephyr!

    Like

    1. Thank you Scribblehappy 🙂 You must not waste the treasure of the neem flowers. Collect them and wash and dry them well. You can keep it for years when well dried. you can make a variety of things with them and they are good for the stomach too.

      The rangoli was made by the daughter, but the colours are the little one’s. At barely 4 she sure has a sense of colour,. doesn’t she?

      Like

  8. The idea behind mango- vaeppam pachidi is amazing. I understand that is there in other parts of India as well. Recently I was reading a post on Ugadi- they also have similar pachidi!
    Happy new year to you as well!

    Like

    1. If we only paused to think about our customs and rituals, nothing would look old fashioned or meaningless. Alas! Wish you a happy new year too Hariharan!

      Like

  9. Nice rangoli :-))

    Like

    1. Thank you Giribala. She has such a great sense of colour, doens’t she?

      Like

  10. A happy new year to you and your family Zephyr. Strangely, I am not getting any updates on your post!

    The 6 tastes of Ayurveda, my mum always tells us about it! I am from Karnataka, so its ugadi for me 🙂 My husband is a maharasthra, so its the gudi padwa also for me 🙂

    I love our diversity and our culture. Its just so great to celebrate new year so many times! Wonderful write up as always 🙂

    Like

    1. Happy new year to you too Jenny. Most of us celebrate at least two new year’s day in addition to Jan 1. It is a lovely feeling to enjoy the various festivals. I don’t stress myself out by sticking to all rituals but do what I can, keeping the spirit of the festival foremost in mind. That makes it enjoyable.

      I have told the blog manager to look into the Reader issue and should get sorted out if it is from my end, in a couple of days.

      Like

  11. Started following your blog recently. Have a great year!

    Like

    1. Thank you Reema and welcome here 🙂

      Like

  12. While in London, our non-Indian classmates were quite bemused by the way the Indians in our class would be wishing each other for some festival or the other. So one day, after another round of wishing (I think it was quite Gudi Padwa that day), they decided to ask us about our festivals. And all 8 of us Indians pitched in to explain the different festivals and different new years to her. By the time we finished, their heads were reeling with our New Years, our Harvest Festivals, etc. etc. The looks on their faces is something that I will never forget. 😀

    Puthandu Vazhathugal, Zephyr. 🙂

    Like

    1. That would have been hilarious, I can just imagine their looks 🙂 But we do know how to celebrate, don’t we? ACtually other than just celebrating the harvest or the seasons, we also use them for social interaction, not just the family but also friends and neighbours. While all of us loved the times we enjoyed these things, why is it that we scoff at them today? Are we so globalised as to detest what is ours? Matter for another post. 🙂

      Puthandu Vazhthukkal to you too Sudha 😀

      Like

  13. Wishing you and your family a very happy Puthandu! Aren’t we Indians lucky to be able to celebrate New Year so many times?

    Mango pachadi is a favourite in our home, we make it without the neem flowers though. I’ll try your recipe and see how it turns out. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you Manju. The dish will have a dash of bitterness, but that adds to the taste. Unfortunately fresh neem is not available throughour the year and so we have to make do with the dried ones which is not the same.

      Like

  14. Happy Puthandu to you and yours!!!

    Like

    1. Thank you Deepak!

      Like

  15. Pudhu varusha vaazhthukkal. Vadai payasam sappitta piraghu, vaazhthughiren.

    Like

    1. Ha ha. Only then will the wishes be sweet! 🙂

      Like

  16. Iniya Puthandu nalvazhthukkal. Have a wonderful year ahead.

    Like

    1. puthandu vazhthukkal to you too 🙂

      Like

  17. Wish you a happy new year!! Love that colourful rangoli 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you IHM. The imp who coloured it even more lovable 🙂

      Like

  18. What does one have Pachadi with? The recipe sounds delicious.
    And wishing you and L&M a happy Puthandu 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you and wish you a happy year ahead too. Pachadi is just like any chutney and can be eaten with anything or by itself. I dip my finger in it and lick it… 🙂

      Like

  19. Ah, just the stuff I love about India. It’s all just one big celebration. Puthandu Vazhthukal to you. Your mango pachadi concept is similar to the Ugadi Pachadi we make, but we don’t cook anything or use any tempering. Everything goes in raw.

    Like

    1. That should be even healthier than this one, then. Cooking kills many nutritive values in food, doesn’t it? Thank you for the wishes. Wish you the same too. Like Bhagyareema said, Indians can celebrate amidst so many problems 🙂

      Like

  20. Such a different post, a colorful amalgamation of way of celebrations, the various rituals and the meanings hidden behind them. We celebrate the new year on the day after Diwali. It is about visiting the elders in the family and taking their blessings and indulging in all sorts of sweets and delicacies. We generally prepare something Rajasthani like Kanji vadas or kachoris for the guests, nothing specific though. You have so many! I am loving the pachadi with all its health benefits! Need to try it out! And look at the rangoli; It conveys everything that you have said in the post – the different colors representing the different festivals, all unique but in the end coming together to give out the same message – wow, its beautiful! 🙂

    Happy New Year to the entire Nag family 🙂

    Like

    1. Nag Family? 😀 😀 I am the ONLY Nag, sorry! What is Kanji vadas? would love the recipe. Please mail me, will you?

      Did you see my granddaughter? Why no mention of her? Having new year clubbed with diwali has its disadvantages because you have one festival less, right? 😀

      Like

      1. ummm… I am caught here but Nag Family could mean the entire family of the ONLY adorable Nag, that includes all — the brats, L&M, the commentators and me! 😀 Does that make any sense? 😀

        Have a look at this post for Kanji vadas (http://myyatradiary.blogspot.in/2010/08/flavors-of-rajasthan-i.html), the second last picture! It is soft and tangy, you will love it, come down next time when you are in Mumbai and we will have a feast 🙂 I don’t know the recipe though, will ask my mom and let you know. I only know to eat 😛

        And Diya features in your post 😮 Thanks a lot for the intimation, she is soooo sweet and adorable! Thing was I landed directly on your post, and not on the home page, hence the miss i guess 😦

        Like

        1. That was a very clever reply 🙂 Yes, when you put it that way, the entire cyberspace is the Nag family since I nag everyone, don’t I? I will definitely come to eat kanjivada and more next time I am in Mumbai. Be warned! I had given the link to my homepage in the post. Next time remember to click a link if you see one in the post 😛

          Like

  21. On this year’s Vishu, I have a wonderful chance to showcase my culinary skills.My brother is the unfortunate soul who has to gobble all that I will be cooking..poor fellow 😛

    I’m waiting to arrange the vishu kani.It has been always an interesting task.

    I will be cooking pachadi too..will send you pics 🙂 🙂

    randu naal leave irukke..online paakalam..

    Like

    1. I pity the poor boy! And if you are good cook, poor me, for missing the feast 😀 I have seen Vishu kani being arranged too. Do you walk with your eyes closed and open it to see that the first thing? I have heard this said. Looking forward to the pics. Do mail them. No time to browse in FB.

      Like

      1. yeah,we do walk with our eyes closed and then open it see the vishu kani as the first thing 🙂
        you know,it is a beautiful moment to see the kani early morning and the smell of agarbathis and camphor create a heavenly aura 🙂

        and yeah,puthu aandu vazhthukal 🙂 (correct?)

        Like

        1. Some traditional customs are really beautiful aren’t they? And it is puthandu, as the two words merge together to make the new word. 🙂

          Like

    2. And oh, Happy Vishu! 😀

      Like

  22. Travelling to Kerala to be with extended family for Vishu since fortunately this time its on a Saturday 🙂

    Wish-u a wonderful Vishu 🙂 *burp* excuse me! 😀

    Like

    1. P.S.: As you can see, the ‘eye’ in my profile pic is visible since I login from WP these days to comment… 🙂

      Like

      1. Long live WP for making it mandatory to comment after logging in 🙂

        Like

    2. Good for you. When you eat the sadhya (have I spelt it right?) remember me 🙂 And burping before the feast? 😀

      Like

  23. Wish you & your family a very happy Tamil New Year.Enjoy the yummy yummy festival goodies.

    Like

    1. Wish you a happy new year too SRA and have a wonderful feast 🙂

      Like

  24. the rhythm of seasons and the joy of harvests was what defined the new beginning till the not so recent past : and these new years truly signify that.
    We lived more in tune with our natural environment and knew how to savour each seasons bounty : this pachadi would be having numerous health benefits too ; i am sure .

    Like

    1. We tend to lump everything as being old fashioned and junk them, in the process losing the beauty in things — even something as simple as a mango pachadi. And yes, it has health value too since it incorporates all the six tastes of Ayurveda.

      Like

  25. Our new year celebrated on Ugadi is called as Sansar Padwo. And yes we do eat the neem with Jaggery and this year had a lovely day as I was in India then. Somehow its fun when all the family is together and this time it was a bonus as I had both my in laws as well as my parents with me 😀 And the day just flew with all of us cleaning, cooking, singing and feasting together.
    Happy New year mami and remember me when you feast 😉 Tomorrow we have celebrations in the temple and it will be a ‘jolly’ good day
    In India we are always celebrating isn’t it even though we face so many odds when compared to most other nations. And that makes me so very proud. 🙂

    Like

    1. You are so right. being with friends and family makes the festivities more enjoyable for sure. I am glad you had a wonderful Ugadi. I will surely remember you while feasting. I might not make all the dishes though. I agree with you about Indians knowing how to celebrate despite so many odds. Only, I wish they would not think that spending money is the only way to celebrate something 🙂

      Like

  26. My mouth is watering with all this talk about food 🙂
    I am a Maharashtrian and though we don’t make that Pachdi but it is a ritual to eat raw neem leaves good health throughout the year.

    Happy New Year Zephyr…have a great year ahead 🙂

    Like

    1. Neem is the best antiseptic and freshening agent ever. Do try the pachadi. It is great with chapatis and even bread 🙂

      Like

  27. The explanation of the pacchadi is exactly what amma used to tell me – wise words! And thanks for the recipe and the menu – I am having some folks over for lunch on Saturday and apart from Aviyal + neem pachchadi, didn’t have a menu in mind and thanks to you, I have one. You seem to have read my mind – what’s new with that? 🙂

    Like

    1. But naturally! That is exactly what the pachadi is all about. I am so glad to be of help. Telepathy, is it? Well, tell me how they turned out. My mother made neem pachadi with all the tastes — tamarind, jaggery, neem, salt, turmeric and red chillies. Mango pachadi used to be sweet.

      Like

  28. AlkaGurha · · Reply

    Enough teasing, give me your address I am coming straight to your place for some yumm food.
    The Rangoli is beautiful . Wish you a very happy New Year….happiness always.

    Like

    1. How lovely! I will send you the address right away 🙂 The rangoli was made by the daughter and is being coloured by my granddaughter 🙂

      Like

  29. Errr…isnt it called Vishu? Aiyo total confusion I have with this Tamizh and Kerala festivals..we celebrate both of them and I get so confused…

    I loved the recipe…Patty used to make it often though Amma makes it without the neem leaves thanks to us cribbing about it 🙂

    Like

    1. We celebrated Ugadi in our mother’s place too, so we had two festivals and two feasts 🙂 She also made two different pachadis, one sweet with mango and the other bitter sweet with neem. But we had to have at least half a spoon of it served with the lecture I have given in the post but not so sweetly delivered 😛

      Like

  30. Oh yes, it is bevu bella here in Karnataka and Ugadi Pachadi in AP. I tasted both these concoctions and though the logic seems fine, the taste is not to my liking :). I agree with Umashankar’s point above about celebrating New Year all through the year. Gujaratis and Marwaris consider the next day after Diwali as New Year. Depending upon the region, there are a number of New Years celebrated. I don’t celebrate any. Cynical me, what is the big deal in any New Year :). But, I’d go with 1st January as the only one I consider as New Year. Looks like you celebrated with gusto.

    Like

    1. I have had told by Naturopaths that we should include the taste that we hate in our foods because there is a serious deficiency of that in the body and consequently disorders. I never ate sweets all my life till about a decade ago and now I eat them a lot because the body is craving for it. Biofeedback, but what a sweet one! I would repeat the same reply I gave Umashankar. Be a sweetheart and read that, will you? 🙂

      Like

      1. hehe I do include bitter, sweet, sour, hot flavors and local, seasonal produce in my cooking. It is just that this concoction’s taste does not appeal to me. I love raw mangoes, but neem is not for me. I love my karelas and methi though :). And, I do enjoy seeing the festivity around me. My mil is Maharashtrian and born in Karnataka, and her sister stays here in Bangalore. So every year, we trudge to her house eating the yummy goodies and celebrating Gudi Padwa and Ugadi. As long as I don’t have to slog in cooking the obattus, I am all for the celebration :).

        Like

        1. You know why I love you? Among other things, you are also very honest. 🙂 I feel the same way too but at my ripe old age, if I say that everyone will be gasping 🙂 Follow the max-min rule and have fun. It would be a pity to let such things die away. Agreed about being forced to do something. That can put one of big time. Psst…coming from the south where we believe that feeding the god inside you is very important, I find the north Indian custom of fasting at the drop of a hat for everything including festivals a little too much 😀

          Like

  31. Puthandu Vazhthukkal to you, Zephyr. The kosumalli, neer mor, panagam are triggered by Rama Navami at our place – and from then on, since it is the mango season, the trio makes its appearance very frequently. Much jaggery is eaten raw. Vidur loves to “taste” it. I miss my Mom very much during festivals. We generally have a festive feeling for the next three days because her birthday is on April 15. Sigh. What I hate most is doing it all alone.

    I love everything neem. 😀 I have a stash of dried neem leaves. I can’t believe the year has whizzed by so soon and April 13 is the day after tomorrow. Yikes. I’d better get shopping for the essentials tomorrow.

    🙂 Love, Vidya

    Like

    1. Puthandu Vazhthukkal to you and your family too 🙂 Feasts followed the seasons,Vidya and since both Rama Navami and Puthandu fall during spring-summer, these two items find a place in the food, at least in our family 🙂 I love plucking the tender leaves and chewing on them when I go for the morning walk. Freshens the mouth like no mouth fresher can!

      Like

  32. We celebrate festivals which are in tune with Nature .. now we have lost the touch with Nature and only some outward things of the festivals remain.

    Like

    1. Very true, Aativas. But even today when we celebrate something if we remember the joy and the reasoning behind it, we will enjoy it. When we have learnt new ways of celebrating birthdays by cutting cake and blowing candles, why can’t we make rangolis and cook a feast to celebrate a festival?

      Like

  33. Hey, hey, hey, you forgot the Parsi “Navroze”. Still, the mango pachadi sounds delicious. And your daughter looks adorable lost in her rangoli.- very sensible using chalk. A Very Happy New Year to you and yours.

    Like

    1. Thanks KeyEm. I have added it and linked you too. I have heard that the Navroze feast is very elaborate too. 🙂

      Like

      1. Name one Indian festival that isn’t a gourmand’s delight! But having to wash one’s own dishes after the feast, plus having to watch the cholesterol and sugars makes it a bit less elaborate for this Parsi :).

        Like

        1. I am stingy with the cholesterol inducing stuff through the year so that we may feast occasionally on the goodies. But honestly, Tamilian food is healthy to a fault — even the festival dishes except maybe the vadas in this case. 😀

          Like

    2. And KayEm, that is not my daughter, but granddaughter 😀

      Like

      1. My apologies o gracious gran. We do agree on the “adorable” though.

        Like

        1. We do agree on the adorable part, certainly! I am more amazed at her concentration though 🙂

          Like

  34. Wishing you a very happy Puthandu ! Reading about the varieties of new year celebrations we keep having , suddenly made me recall something from when I was around 8 -9 years old. It had to do with experiencing and enjoying a multireligious India. My brother and I attended a jesuit school, but also learned all kinds of Sanskrit Stotras at home, one of which was Ramaraksha, which was fairly big. Returning home after playing every evening, we had to wash our hands, feet, face, change into fresh clean night clothes, and say Ramaraksha followed by tables from 2 to 20. Dinner happened only after that.

    We used to say the Lords Prayer in the school assembly and the shorter length of that prayer was attractive to us. I remember asking my mother if all Gods were one, why couldnt we say the Lords Prayer instead. And I remember that she then told us what a great idea knowing prayers of different religions was, and why didnt we say Ramaraksha as well as the Lords Prayer every day !

    It was a great way to teach us how to respect all religions. I guess all the various cultural celebrations of new years also teach us to appreciate the diversity of this wonderful land ……

    Like

    1. Thank you Suranga. Don’t you think that as we are going forward in the millennium, the divisions are increasing? I remember being taught the harmony of living with all people no matter which religion or race they belonged to. Loved your mother’s logic. Poor you, though. sometimes our plans do backfire don’t they? 😀

      Like

  35. Archana · · Reply

    enna sollarathu.. u have covered everything 😀 i am happy to have come home to spend time with my folks 😀

    Like

    1. Yenjoy 😀 And don’t forget to eat the neem pachadi. My mother made them as separate dishes with the neem one being the arusuvai one and the mango being a sweet and sour pacahdi 🙂

      Like

  36. debajyoti · · Reply

    life is bittersweet but as a whole it’s delicious. loved it.

    i have so many Tamil friends but no one ever told me about the rituals. even my vote goes to Indian new year celebration. wish you and your family a happy and supercool new year 🙂

    thanks to ur post, i remember that Bengali new year is also around the corner.

    Like

    1. Rituals are all not to be frowned at or junked, but that seems to be the norm today in the name of being secular maybe? But religion, culture, tradition, customs — all have their specific places in the lives of people. I have a maximum-minimum rule for any festival and anything in between goes, depending upon my ability, time available and mood. And what do you do on Naba Barsho?

      Like

      1. debajyoti · · Reply

        nothing much. we buy new cloths, meet everyone, eat a lot although things have changed a lot of late. thats all i know 😦

        Like

        1. How can things have changed when you eat a lot? 😀

          Like

  37. For us Kannadigas, Ugadi symbolizes heralding the spirit of a balanced life filled with bitterness and sweetness, hence the ‘bevu bella'(neem ‘n jaggery) offering to one and all ! Quite similar to the ‘pachadi’ you describe !
    Such a refreshing post !
    Happy Puthandu to you and yours…

    Like

    1. Oh yes, I forgot to mention bevu bella! Thanks for reminding me. I love this feast and the festival because it is so informal and joyous. Thank you Chits and wish you the same too 🙂

      Like

  38. Aunty Nag, I have had a massive debate with a number of people on Vishu…As it is, the commie Malayalis only celebrate two festivals grandly – Onam and Vishu and I’m always wondering how Vishu can be the New Year, when Chingam 1 is considered as the first day of the Malayalam calendar…Now I have finally been told rather conclusively by the L&M of our house, after much intellectual wracking that Vishu denotes the start of the Astrological New Year…so there..:) thanks to your post I have resolved one of the biggest debates on which is the Malayalis New Year! 🙂 🙂

    So Puthandu wishes in advance to you and the little one…:) Leatherbutt and the others too…:)

    Like

    1. Look how intellectually stimulating a post on Cybernag can be 😀 And I am happy to be of service in diffusing the tension between the generations over this vital question 🙂 Thank you for the wishes and wishing you and all at home the same too!

      Like

  39. True Zephyr, India has 366 festivals in one calendar year and each day is a day of celebration for one festival or other! Colorful indeed! Wishing you a Very Happy New Year and that Pachadi , I am yet to taste:)

    Like

    1. You said 366? Time for an agitation to increase the number of days in a year! Thank you for the New Year wishes. As for mango pachadi, the recipe is there, why don’t you make it tomorrow and feed your family? Or better still, come over? 🙂

      Like

      1. I knew that you will ask me this! This includes Leap Year’ too:) Very kind of you to send the invitation! Do’nt be surprised if I pop in:)

        Like

        1. Ha ha! I am so predictable, aren’t I? you are welcome any time Rahul! 🙂

          Like

  40. What a different post!!! And yet, strangely so meaningful and appropriate. Bittersweet mango pachadi…bittersweet nature of our life!!! Aah..how hard it is, how tough it is to accept all shades and flavors…I, for one, mostly can’t (:-.
    And you know what I like most about this post–that you used a recipe, a symbol and metaphor from a woman’s domain to convey an important message.
    Happy New Year to you, Zephyr and to L&M and the Brats!

    Like

    1. Our ancestors knew how to instil values and rules of health and even spirituality through the things we did daily, including the food we ate. But in our hurry to junk traditional things as being ‘divisive’ or ‘fundamental’ we are throwing out the good too. Hmmm..subject for another post 🙂

      Like

Enter the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: