The Hindu New Year n Vaisakhi Punjabi New Year

Posted by Lakshmi

14 April 2010

My daughter, Shireen Thangam Nair to my right and my son Benedict Arvind Nair to my left.

Today is a really  auspicious day and so I thought it good to share my family picture with my readers.
Here's wishing all Hindus / Sikhs and all of humanity   a Very Very Happy New Year. 

Today is a day of great celebration by Hindus and Punjabis all over the world for it marks the arrival of the New Year.  All temples and Gurdwaras ( Sikh temples) all over the world will be having special prayers and all of them will serve a wide variety of vegetarian food, the whole banana leaf  works .....  The food served must have all the different flavours of sweetness, sour, salty, bitter, spicy hot, etc.,  etc ., symbolising  the vagaries of life. By the way, you start and end the meal with something sweet.

First on the banana leaf will be the staple grain of Asians - rice, followed by 5 to 6 kinds of vegetables, then dhall curry,  papadams  thick yoghurt,   "vadai" , ( the doughnut shaped savoury cake made from black gram) with payasam ( a sweet dish made with a mixture of milk, sago, green peas, brown sugar, cashew nuts and raisins  which is served in a glass/tumbler to finish off as desert.. Ever head of a sweetmeat called ' laddu '  ?  It's the yellow round ball like sweetmeat you can find in any Indian eaterie worth their salt.   That's a definite must.  So is ' halva, barfi,  jelebi ' , etc.  These are extremely extremely sweet stuff which is served on all auspicious occasions, all made from mountains of sugar and gallons of milk.  Now you know why Indians are top on the diabetes list  ! !

Mustn't forget the rasam ( mulligawtawny soup was a reproduction of the Indian soup, rasam, by the British. It is basically a soupy drink  made with cumin, anise seeds, black pepper, garlic, ginger, etc to aid in the  digestion after a hearty and heavy meal such as this )  Seriously, you really need to drink the rasam, otherwise, you will , in all probability,  have indigestion  with the amount of food served !    

If you count the number of dishes served, it would be around 10 or so.Thus, most of us who don't eat a 10 course meal daily, will struggle to keep our eyes open during the afternoon and so  a short siesta  is the order of the day.

Similarly, the Punjabis would serve  rice pilaf, chappatis, puris,  dhalls, vegetable dishes and of course, the sickly sweet sugary stuff I wrote above. 

Temple visit is a must as it is where the yearly almanac will be read and a short discourse on the astrological chart of the 12 zodiac signs will be explained.  An astrological prediction of the highlights and major happenings of the year will also  be foretold,  much akin to the Chinese New Year .

Everyone, regardless of  their ethnicity, colour, creed, race, religion, etc, etc, is warmly welcomed to go to any  of the temples or gurdwaras.  During my younger working days of  yonder, I used to take my friends of all races to such sumptious feast.  The  serving of food was done in the great dining halls/ areas , away  from the temple sanctum santorium, so as to respect each others religious beliefs.   Nowadays, most of us don't know or bother to understand nor  learn   the cultural and religious  obligations  of others , much less take part in the many celebrations of each of the varied communities living together in our great country.   

But then again, times are a changing, and the ever optimist that I  am,  we will get to know each other better,  a bit slow perhaps but nevertheless, a start has been made... As George Burns said, " I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life ".

1 Response to The Hindu New Year n Vaisakhi Punjabi New Year

  1. hindu blog

    It's best post and also image. I liked it.

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