When the dawn breaks and the air is still cool, he ventures out to his fields to take one last look. The endless fields of green and gold are finally ready, and tomorrow, he smiles with satisfaction, is harvest day.
All the moments spent under the scorching sun, ploughing, tilling, watering and nurturing have come to fruition, and here begins the story of how the country will receive the fruits of his labour, filling stomachs, hearts and souls with whole, nourishing food.
Farming is the backbone of our country. With 58% of Indians dedicating their lives to agriculture, India remains the world’s largest producer of milk, pulses, and spices, and has the world's largest cattle herd (buffaloes), as well as the largest area under wheat, rice and cotton.
So when harvest season comes, it is celebration time across the country! Let’s take a trip to see how the Spring Harvest is celebrated across India.
The traditional new year in the Hindu lunar calendar usually heralds the start of the harvest season. The day is commemorated with bright rangolis, decorations with mango leaves, and the cleansing of their homes and their bodies which is followed by prayers and offerings. The entire family worships the Panchanga and prays for a bountiful year.
Ugadi, the spring festival celebrated in Andhra, Telangana and Karnataka, is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and adi (beginning) which means “the beginning of new age”. It is a joyous celebration signifying the fading of cold days as the warm spring sets in. The day is known for its delicacies that are enjoyed throughout the season, one of the signature dishes being Obbattu (also known as Holige, Puran Poli and Bobbattu) which is a flatbread filled with flavoured and sweetened lentils. This traditional delicacy is stuffed with cooked Bengal dal added with the sweetness of jaggery, cardamom and nutmeg powder.
Maharashtra celebrates a similar festival as Gudi Padwa, it gets its name from two-words “gudi” which means flag/emblem of Brahma and ‘padwa’ means the first day of the phase of the moon. Like Ugadi, Gudi Padwa also witnesses some of the exemplary traditional dishes that echo the state’s rich culture and heritage. From Puran poli to payasam the list goes on and on. Some of the most adored snacks are chakli or murukku, which is a spiral shaped savoury snack made from rice flour, besan (gram flour) and spices.
Two weeks after ugadi and gudi padwa, we have country wide celebrations for-
Celebrated throughout the state of Kerala, the Tulu Nadu regions of Karnataka and in the neighbouring areas of Tamil Nadu. Vishu is celebrated to offer prayer for a good and prosperous year ahead. On this day, one of the most significant events is the sighting of Vishukani during dawn. In Malayalam, the word ‘kani’ means ‘which is seen first’. Hence Vishukani meaning ‘things which should be seen first on Vishu’, includes everything that is a part of the good harvest. In front of Lord Vishnu, people arrange a set of vegetables and fruits especially jackfruit, cucumber, mango, coconut and a glass full of rice.
‘Shubho Nobobarsho’ is the greeting that the Bengali community uses to wish each other a prosperous new year on Poila Baisakh. On this day, many shops and businesses invite regular customers and give them a token of appreciation as the festival also marks the start of a financial cycle. A number of fairs and festivals are organised all across West Bengal & Tripura to celebrate this joyous occasion. Houses are decorated with the traditional alpana design and people adorn traditional attires, sing folk tunes, visit local fairs and enjoy cultural festivities. This festival also boasts a lavish array of delicacies to enjoy, but no Bengali feast is complete without a round of wholesome desserts from Sandesh, rasmalai or rajbhog, amongst others. But speaking of Bengali festivals and Bengali desserts there is no way any festival would be complete without the delicious rosogulla. This sweet, spongy and slurpy treat is a festive staple and the caramel taste with the addition of Nolen Gur will definitely leave you asking for more.
Also known as Vaisakhi, it is the harvest festival of Punjab. It marks the beginning of the Sikh new year. On this day, the Sikh community visits Gurudwaras that are lavishly decorated for this occasion. Many people enjoy parades through the streets called Nagar kirtans. ‘Nagar’ means the town and ‘Kirtans’ means the hymns of Guru Nanak Sahib. Farmers give thanks for the plentiful harvest and pray for a prosperous new year. The people serve ‘Phirni’, which is a slow-cooked sweet pudding made with broken rice and nuts, scented with cardamom powder or saffron or rose water.
Also named Bohag Bihu, it is the time Assamese people celebrate their new year or ‘Prothom Bohag’, which is the first day of Bohag month as per the Indian calendar. It is usually celebrated for a week, and is famous for its exchange of traditional woven gamchas (scarves), the Bihu songs including Husori and Bihu dance, and cultural functions held late into the night. Men dress in dhoti, and food includes various delicacies like Mangsho, Chira and Pitha. One of the traditional delicacies is ‘khaar’ consumed at the start of the meal. It is traditionally made from burnt banana peels and cooked with raw papaya and fish or with lentils.
At Living Food, we celebrate this season of bountiful harvest in earnest. We strive to honour the farmer and his produce with the utmost respect. We work extensively with a trusted network of farmers and have built a robust supply chain that helps us to procure and deliver the freshest produce possible. The rich and colourful tradition that shines at the very heart of our culture, is best enjoyed with the people you adore and the food you love.
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