By Sujata Limbu
We love rice here in India. We can eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. What’s more – there’s over one lakh varieties of rice to choose from – which is why eating rice becomes so much fun. While its a staple in South and East India, rice traditions are followed all across. A proper Goan fish curry cannot be enjoyed unless it is paired with Korgut, the traditional Goan rice. Similarly many South Indian dishes cannot be possibly supplemented by Basmati rice, you need to use the magnificent varieties of rice available in that region for the same such as Jeeragam Saambaal or even Ponni. There is simply no alternative that is equivalent to the taste and aroma of rice and we are truly blessed to have so many varieties of this invaluable grain!
But when it comes to cultural traditions, rice plays an important role across the country. We’re listing out 4 popular rice traditions that are celebrated with great gusto.
Akshata Arpana– In Hinduism, the tradition of throwing rice grains with turmeric during a marriage ceremony is called “Akshata Arpana” which is a regional practice. This tradition signifies the blessings for prosperity and spiritual well being for the married couple.
Annaprashana– Annaprashana is a Hindu ceremony that is a first feeding ritual of solid food for a baby who is 6-7 months old. A sweet rice pudding i.e. kheer is prepared and served to him/her as the solid food.
Vidyarambham– This is a Hindu ceremony which initiates a young child’s first step into the world of education. The child is made to form letters in a plate full of rice grains, the letters formed are signified as a mantra of prosperity and the same is written with gold on the child’s tongue.
Rice Festival– The Pongal festival is celebrated in Southern India, this festival celebrates the diversity and importance of rice, it also marks the end of the harvest season. Celebrations are made by cooking boiled rice with milk and sugar in clay pots, which is then offered to the Sun god for blessings and gratitude.