Flavours of gaiety

Flavours of gaiety

The festivities are on in full swing today with many Bengalureans celebrating their respective regional new years. Be it ‘Puthandu’ which is celebrated by Tamilians, ‘Poila Baishakh’ by Bengalis or ‘Vishu’ by Keralites, all the festivals speak of one thing and that is togetherness.

‘Puthandu’, as the name suggests, means a fresh year. Aarti Raghuram, a Tamilian, who lives here with her husband Raghuram and children Vishal and Sahana, is gearing up for the day.

“The day begins with the lighting of the lamp, which is about bringing warmth and brightness to the household,” she says.

They also draw a ‘kolam’ (design on the floor) outside the house and make ‘thoranam’ with mango leaves. “This symbolises that things are well in the household. We use red oxide powder around the ‘kolam’, which has an auspicious connect to it,” she says.

Specialities like ‘raw mango pachadi’ that includes dried neem flowers, jaggery and salt are made. “This is symbolic of the sweet, sour and bitter elements of life,” she explains.

“Items like ‘aama vadai’ (made from a mix of ‘dals’) and ‘payasam’, apart from other South Indian dishes, are also prepared for the day,” she adds.

The Bengalis are celebrating ‘Poila Baishakh’ in all its grandeur. Smaranika Mukherjee, assistant vice-president with a reinsurance company, says that the festival marks the advent of summer. “We buy new clothes for the day and make traditional food items that include exquisite preparations with ‘hilsa’ and prawns as part of a five-course meal,” she says.

“We also make ‘payesh’ for the day. Visiting family and friends with the ‘payesh’, a sweet ‘chutney’ and ‘rosogollas’ is part of our tradition,” she adds.

Keralites, meanwhile are celebrating ‘Vishu’ today. Renju Ramnath, an HR professional, is looking forward to the day. Renju says, “I live with my parents-in-law and brother-in-law’s family. We celebrate the day together.”

“We lay out the ‘kani’, which includes an idol of Lord Krishna, fruits and vegetables in golden colour, ‘vaal kannadi’ (hand mirror), golden coins, ‘nilavillaku’ (lamp) etc. These elements have different meanings but they come together to represent prosperity and well-being,” adds Renju.

The youngsters in the family are given ‘kaineetam’ (a gift of money) by the elders in the family. “Apart from new clothes, ‘kaineetam’ is what the children look forward to,” she adds.

“We prepare ‘sadya’, the elaborate feast which included items like ‘olan’, ‘sambhar’, ‘kootukari’ and ‘pachaddi’ and sit down together to enjoy the grand lunch. What better way to start things afresh than with one’s kith and kin?” she says.


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