This is a festive weekend with many festivals being celebrated across the country. While the Tamil New Year, Puthandu is coming up on the 14th of April, the Assamese celebrate Rongali Bihu on the same day, whereas the Punjabis celebrate the Baisakhi. A day later, on the 15th of April, Keralites celebrate their new year, Vishu and Bengalis celebrate their New Year, Pohela Baisakh. And then we have Easter coming up on Sunday.
Tamilians believe that Lord Brahma created the universe on this day and celebrate it as New Year. It is a time for new beginnings and they get up early, take bath and make kolams (rangoli) in front of their house. They also wear new clothes, visit temples, take blessings of elders and prepare a feast for the day. Offering Pongal to the god is a ritual followed by many. They also make a special dish called manga pachadi made with raw mango. On this day, in the world-famous Madurai temple, Chitterai Thiruvizha festival is also celebrated.
- 1 medium-size raw mango
- ½ cup grated jaggery
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Mustard, curry leaves, one red chilli and neem flowers for seasoning
Peel the mango skin, chop it into cubes and boil in enough water with turmeric powder. In another pan, prepare jaggery syrup by heating up the grated jaggery with little water. Strain and add it to the boiled mango pieces along with salt to taste and boil on medium flame. Remove from flame and prepare the seasoning. Heat oil, add mustard, then chill bits, curry leaves, and pour on top of the pachadi and keep covered till serving.
This is the Assamese New Year and festivities in Assam last for a week. People wear their traditional dresses, sing and dance and make merry. Cattle is worshipped, feasts are held and the sowing season begins. The village elders move from one house to another singing traditional songs and they are respected by giving betel leaf with areca but in a brass dish. Women exclusively perform the Bihu dance. On the New Year’s Day, they get up early, bathe, wear new clothes, take blessings of elders, exchange gifts, have a light breakfast and then have a feast for lunch.
- 2 potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
- 1tsp mustard oil
- ½ cup sliced onions
- 2 green chillies minced
- Salt to taste
- Minced coriander leaves for garnishing
Simply mix all ingredients and garnish it and serve with rice as a side dish like a potato salad.
On Vishu day, people get up at dawn, bathe, and then do a ritual called Vishukani. In this, the first thing people see on Vishu day is a grand arrangement of all things auspicious kept in front of the god. So, fruits, flowers, brass lamp, brass vessel with rice or paddy, coconut, ornamental mirror, gold coins, sacred books, a new set of clothes, betel leaf with areca nut, yellow flowers called konna, etc. This is arranged the night before. After Vishukani, everyone seeks the blessings of elders who give Vishukaineetam (gifts), burst crackers, visit temples and then have a grand feast for lunch.
- 1 cup Moong dal
- ½ cup grated coconut
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 pinch of turmeric powder
- 2 green chillies
- 2 or 3 small onions
- Mustard, red chilli, curry leaves, etc for seasoning
Boil moong dal well with water and salt and mash it. Grind coconut gratings with green chilli, turmeric and cumin into a smooth paste, add it to the boiled and mashed moong dal. Add little water to adjust consistency, if required, bring to boil. Prepare seasoning with oil and the sliced small onions, and then all the seasoning ingredients and pour on top. Serve hot with rice.
Easter is celebrated by Christians all over the world on this Sunday, the 17th of April. Easter as we know is the day on which Christ resurrected Himself from the dead and hence, a day marked by prayers and celebrations. After the Eater mass, people gather at home for a grand Easter lunch or dinner. Also, Easter comes at the end of the 40-day Lent when people abstain with fasting and penance.
- 250 gm prawns
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 3 minced onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1-inch sliced ginger
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 4 dry red chillies
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 3 cloves
- 1-inch cinnamon piece
- Sugar and salt to taste
Sprinkle salt on the cleaned prawns and keep them aside. Dry roast the spices cumin, red chilli, cloves, cinnamon and mustard and cool. Grind these along with ginger and garlic to get a smooth paste by adding vinegar. Heat little oil and sauté the prawns in it till they become opaque and remove. Next, sauté the onions and tomato and when soft, add the ground masala paste with little salt and sugar. When the oil separates, gently mix in the prawns and cook on a medium flame for a few minutes.