In India, August usually marks the start of the festive season even as we have atleast one festival every month of the Julian calendar. For the past couple of years, I have been making an attempt to record the important festivals that my parents and parents-in-law would celebrate. Our traditions and cultural nuances are rapidly being lost as we adopt all things western. Rituals don’t attract me much, but food does and I am recording rituals just to understand them better. Today is Pathinettam Perukku, the 18th (pathinettu) day of the month of Aadi.
Pathinettam Perukku –
Aadi month is the start of the monsoon according to the Tamil calendar. All rivers see an increase in water level during this time. This is also the month of sowing and planting new crops. Pathinettam Perukku literally translated means “18 rising(perukku)”. The rising levels of the rivers is signified.
My mother and father come from farming families. Families would make different kinds of rice (kalandha saatham) on this day and go to a nearby river with a picnic basket. Everyone would bathe in the river and eat the different rice delicacies and celebrate this festival.
My cousins made nearly 7 different types of rice. I made four. The four varieties I made are – Tamarind Rice (Puliyodharai), Sweet (Chakkara) Pongal, Curd Rice and Coconut Rice, all made with just one cup of rice :).
Pathinettam Perukku Significance –
Aadi Perukku is to celebrate water and thank the rivers for their gift of water that sustains life. Yesterday, in the Sanatana Dharma class, Prof Mahadevan explained that all the devas and devis that we pray to are in fact elements of Nature. Bhooma Devi – Earth, Surya Deva – Sun, Agni Deva – Fire, Varuna deva – water (rains), Vayu Deva – Air, Indra Deva – Thunder, Kama Deva – Love, Kartikeya – for victory in War etc. Nature is worshipped everyday and all our festivals are thanksgiving festivals. We thank the Earth for a bountiful crop during Pongal, Sankranti, Bihu etc and we thank the river for sustaining life during Aadi Perukku.
Do read another blogpost about Pathinettam Perukku from Subbu’s kitchen.