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Shrikhand Puri served in a traditional thali
Gudhi Padwa
Gudhi

Happy New Year (Seasons Greetings)

On this occasion, I wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year. May all your wishes come true. Best wishes.

 

Festivals are an integral part of the Indian culture with various festivals interspersed throughout the year. Each festival has a cultural significance either in historical or mythological terms. All festivals have certain associated rituals and food items specially prepared for the festival. Each region has their specialties based on the regional weather. Our ancestors have put a lot of thought in deciding these food dishes. The food items across India might be different in terms of preparation and presentation but the key ingredients that are associated with the prevailing season are the same. These ingredients are based on what the human body needs to be healthy during that season and considers the seasonal availability of fruits and vegetables. For example, in January we celebrate harvest festival across India. All the speciality food dishes prepared for this festival mainly have sesame seeds and jaggary. Both these food items are naturally warm to provide the body with warmth during the cold weather. Hindu calendar is lunisolar. It has two 15 days cycles based on the moon and the months are based on the solar year.

According to the Hindu calendar, the New Year starts in spring. New Year day generally falls somewhere between end of March and end of April. New Year day is celebrated as ‘Gudhi Padwa’ in Maharashtra. This festival is also celebrated with different names such as ‘Cheti Chand’ by Sindhi community, ‘Ugadi’ in the Southern part of the Indian subcontinent.

It is a considered to be a very auspicious day for various reasons.

Gudhi at my home

New projects are started on this auspicious day. How can this project be the exception! Hence, ‘Culinary Experience’ is also making its entry in the culinary world on today’s occasion. 

 

According to the Brahma Purana (ancient text), this is the day on which Lord Brahma created the world. Another belief is that Lord Rama was coronated as the king of his kingdom on this day. People hoisted ‘Gudhi’ that symbolises victory over evil and mark the celebration. After all, their king had returned after a long 14 years after defeating the demon king Ravana. Long bamboo sticks decorated with flowers, mango and neem leaves, garlands, gaathi (candied sugar garland), colourful cloth, and are topped with inverted silver / copper pot are hoisted across the kingdom. This ritual has continued till date and you will see all households sporting a colourful Gudhi that day.

 

Padwa is the first day of spring, and the weather is changing. The body needs to cope with this change in weather. Immunity is low during this change of season. To boost immunity, Maharashtrians have a ritual of eating bitter neem leaves mixed with jaggary. According to Ayurveda, Neem leaves have lots of medicinal value, including building immunity.

 

The weather is also getting hotter so we start consuming food items that will keep the body cool. Summer arrives soon after Gudhi Padwa. There will be a scarcity of water and the grass will no longer be green. This will result in less milk production, which takes a while to return to normal, so we pamper ourselves by preparing milk based food items.

Any Indian festival or celebration is incomplete without a sweet dish. Let us begin our culinary journey by exploring one such delicacy is Shrikhand

To celebrate Padwa, I have made a festival thali with Shrikand Puri served in it in a traditional way.

Festival Thali Top

Featured Recipe

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