Customs and traditions are established in families. They are handed down through practice and observation to future generations. The older generation still clings to celebrations that are focussed on family participation while the younger generations share events with friends and peers.
The New Year’s day is an occasion when generations come together to give and receive blessings and best wishes. The menu for New Year’s day is an interesting mixture of many flavours.
The sweet, sour, bitter and bland tastes and textures of the food augur a balanced destiny and teaches one to accept life’s sorrows and joys. Children also look forward to this day as it brings gifts and money from the elders in the family. People welcome the new year day, by cleaning and white washing the house and decorating the door step with with mango and palm leaves. The front of the houses are decorated with colourful Kolams.
The menu for the first day of the Tamizh almanac incorporates all the tastes–sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent and astringent–signifying hopes for a year that balances all experiences. The meal is served on a banana leaf (eco friendly, bio-degradable!).
Kadalai Paruppu Payasam
A sweet pudding made with Gram/Chana dhal, vellam/gur, milk, cardamoms and roasted cashewnuts.
Yoghurt and grated cucumber raitha
Vadai Flat dhal/lentil round dumplings/cakes soaked, blended with green chillies, ginger and asafoetida and deep fried.
Roasted Neem flowers garnishing a raw mango, gur sweet chutney that is seasoned with mustard seeds, red chilli and a dash of salt!
String Beans/Kothavarangai/Broad beans Paruppu Usili
A seasoned vegetable garnished with a blended and steamed tuvar dhal/chana dhal spicy crumble.
The famous mixed vegetable and yoghurt side dish flavoured with raw coconut oil.
Roast Potato, Yam or raw banana
Par-boiled root vegetables, smeared with gram flour, chilli powder, salt and asafoetida and then deep fried and seasoned.
Mango-Inji (Ginger) sweet chutney or Mango Kari (red pickle)
Mango and chopped ginger are cooked in a tangy tamarind and vellam gravy until thick.
Or the chopped mango is spiced up with chilli and mustard powder and seasoned!
Tuvar dhal and vegetable (drumstick, okra, white pumpkin) tamarind based curry.
Neem flower Rasam
A special rasam made with tamarind, dhal water, curry leaves and the roasted neem flowers..seasoned with mustard, cumin, coriander, pepper powders and asafoetida.
Fried maida and semolina pooris soaked in a rich, thick milk concentrate and flavoured with cardamom, roasted almonds and pistas.
Rice; Poppadoms; Banana Chips; Curds; Beeda (Betel leaves and nuts)