Traditions on a platter

Bright beginning

Traditions on a platter

A fresh start is always a reason to celebrate. ‘Ugadi’ brings along with it new beginnings, new hopes and bonhomie, not to mention food.

The food is a major part of the festivities. “The specialities for the day are ‘mango chitrana’, broken wheat ‘payasa’, ‘sandige’, ‘mango chutney’ and ‘kosambari’. We also make ‘sweet obbattu’. There are many types of ‘obbattu’ like those made with coconut, groundnuts, ‘dal’, ‘kharjura’ and til (yellu), which is traditionally prepared,” says Savitha Murthy, a homemaker from Banashankari.

She explains that the delicacies, some sweet, some sour, are made to signify the different turns in one’s life. “While the desserts are meant to invite sweetness into our lives, sour specialities like the ‘chutney’ remind us of the fact that one will also have to face unpleasant experiences,” she explains. “All these items are made in the morning. Apart from these, ‘tomato rasam’, ‘obbattu saaru’, ‘palya’ and ‘sambhar’ are also prepared,” she points out.

Others like Ramavathi Iyengar, a homemaker from Basavanagudi, says that she loves cooking for the occasion. “We have a large family with all our cousins living in the area. Also, those who aren’t around, come together at one household for the occasion.

Luckily this time, the day falls on the weekend, so everyone will be together for sure,” she says. Ramavathi says that the menu for the day  includes items like ‘kolkatte’, ‘puliogre’, ‘palya’, ‘obbattu’ and ‘panaka’. She adds that some of the items require extra effort but with the family together, it’s like a mini-carnival at home. “Everyone joins in. Some grate the coconut, others make the dough etc and it is a perfect example of quality family time,” she says.

The day starts with the ‘puja’ like any other festival. “We seek the blessings of god. Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes and pomegranate are offered for ‘puja’. Food that is prepared for the day is also offered to god,” says Yashaswini Sundar, a Telugite and an executive of corporate communications with Jain Group of Institutions.

“We prepare a pickle which is made with salt, chilli, tamarind, neem flower and mango. This signifies the different elements of life,” she says. She adds that in the evening, the ‘panchang’ is read. “The head of the family recites the ‘panchang’. The whole family sits together for this. This is a preparation for the New Year,” says Yashaswini.

For many like Vandana, a MSc student of Indian Academy College, the day is about new beginnings. “Neem and jaggery are a symbolic part of the festival. These signify the bitter and sweet moments in one’s life. We start the day by praying to almighty and asking for the willpower to go through happy and sad moments in a balanced way,” she says. Vandana adds that the day is about reflecting on one’s blessings and having a positive approach for the year ahead. “The day is about new goals, new targets and a fresh approach.”

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