Dussehra: Celebrating Light and hope

The saying that sits well with India and resonates with everyone is “unity in diversity.” A land with different languages, cultures and food habits that takes immense pride in being one. In reality, what truly unites us is our diversity. We never fall short of experiences. Feeling monotonous? Just move to a different part of the country and you’ll experience something entirely different. The two most diverse factors in our country are festivals and food habits during celebrations.

 

Highlighting the importance of food in our festivals is like pointing out the obvious. Can you remember even one festival that isn’t about food? Festivals in India are also very diverse. One could witness the grandeur of the festival in one part of the country and absolute stillness in the other, but certain festivals are celebrated in most parts and one such festival is Dussehra, which marks the victory of good over evil; Lord Rama defeated the mighty Ravana.

 

Food forms the cornerstone of festivals, from offerings made to God in the form of Prashad, to ritualistic dishes made specifically during the festival time. So much so, that rice coated in vermilion, turmeric or sandalwood is considered auspicious and is an inseparable part of the puja and tilak.

 

Up North, major part of the Dussehra celebration revolves around effigy burning called Ravan Dehan, wherein 3 massive effigies are created to burn with a lot of pomp and show using firecrackers. The whole venue is decorated with lights. Another practice is recreating & acting the Ram-Leela sequences out by a bunch of drama actors. Down South, a much more religious line is taken for festivals, where people wake up early in the morning, wear new clothes with the finest jewels, adorn their hair with flowers and prepare delicacies to please the Gods and Goddesses. Elaborate pujas are a part of their Dussehra celebration.

 

Out of all the delicacies prepared during Dussehra, rice takes up the top spot. From using rice to prepare sweet dishes such as kheer to using it with jaggery and preparing Bellam paramannam that is majorly consumed in Andhra and Karnataka. Puliyohgra or Puliyora is yet another popular dish prepared during this time. It is largely made using tamarind pulp along with some spices and tempering. It is considered the food of Gods and is offered year-round and especially during Dussehra puja. The mere reference of these dishes is enough to get anyone salivating & craving them.

 

Rice is one of the most loved staples in India and around the world. The number of variants of rice that are available and the delicacies that can be made from it is difficult to put a number on. It is one of those foods that goes well with curries and lentils or is a whole meal in itself. It is comfort food for most of us because of its splendid taste and it is convenient to cook as well. Tell us about your favourite rice dish that is attached to the Dussehra celebration. Should you have some unique recipe with rice, feel free to share it.