Marrying into a Non coastal family has an advantage of its own, we get to celebrate most festivals twice. Like Yugadi. The Chandramana Yugadi or the Lunar calendar is followed in my in-laws house while in my natal home we follow the solar calendar.
The Vaishaka sankrama, heralds the new year for many of the communities in India. Known over the sects as Vishu, Bihu, Baisakhi it is the first day of the solar calendar. This is usually the 14th or 15th of April.
The communities of Tulunaadu (coastal expanse of Udupi, dakshina kannada and kasargod) celebrates it as “Bisu Paraba.” That is the festival of the Bisu, or Vishu… the colloquial reference to the Vaishaka Sankrama. This is the sankramana when the moon is closest to the star Vishaka.
In a traditional Tulu Brahmin house events begin to happen almost a week before the cleaning of the house. Decluttering and discarding things that are no more used. The new Panchanga is brought. Many families have the tradition of buying new clothes for Yugadi parba.
While growing up in the joint family the night before arranging the Kani was a big thing.
A place at the center of the house would be designated. Then a silk material would be placed on it. A Kalasha would be created with a silver pot, mango leaves and coconut. Fresh vegetables and fruits would be arranged round this, then gold jewellery and coins. A mirror would be placed in the centre. If new clothes were brought they would be placed there too. I remember one aunt saying we should keep our new text books there.
In the morning the first thing we had to do was to look at our face in this mirror. Today I realize it about looking at ourselves amidst abundance.
Then there traditional oil bath.
The traditional bajjar dosa for breakfast with “Kaayi hoovu” or mixture of jaggery and coconut.
Lunch was different from the usual, rice and koddelu, cashew would dominate the menu. There would be the traditional fare
- Voli moode that is idli steamed in a cylindrical cup made out of “Mundakka palm”. I think it is called screw pine in English. – in the absence of these, moulds made of jackfruit leaves, or banana leaves are used.
- Rasayana or usually banana/musk melon/jackfruit or mango in jaggery and coconut milk.
- Payasa—unlike the Kerala vishu celebration that calls for palada, the Tulu community goes for payasa, which is cashew and lentil cooked with jaggery and coconut milk is added on.
- Then of course the usual Udupi saaru, with papad and pickle.
- The palaya or the dry vegetable is usually “tondekai”(ivy gourd) cooked with cashew.
If my grandmother was in a generous mood or if we expected some really special guests then there would be added “divekujje podi” or breadfruit deep fried.
With our dietary restrictions , cultural transitions and time constrains, I modified the menu.
May the coming year see you in abundance of peace and prosperity.