(actual image from my niece's wedding invitation)
Thai Maasam/January is the start of marriage season in South India.After a gap of six months,there will be a lot of weddings celebrated.It is actually usually pleasant climate there at this time, pattu sarees and jewelery can actually be worn in comfort.
For people in India, attending weddings and family functions have become a chore of late. For those of us away from our desh, we yearn for those very same gatherings.I have enjoyed a lot of these gatherings while growing up and miss them a lot.I enjoy dressing up,chatting,laughing and teasing.The music,crowd, the greeting, the noise, the overwhelming perfumes, the heat and the heady smell of perspiration (ok not those) are sourly missed.I love the thondai arukkum juice(sore throat giving) that they serve in the marriage halls and the dark, strong coffee that you always crave more of and which are served in great jugs.
I miss the all important South Indian tiffin-kapi served early in the morning that the rest of the world find hard to understand. I miss the kalyana saapadu/bhojanam also called the pandi saapadu.I miss the upajaram -(saaptela-sappida vaango-nalla nidaana maa sapidungo).
I miss the rituals that we have seen in many weddings but that always makes us tear up again and again.The relatives talking loudly over the sounds of the nadaswaram or light music.I miss seeing the brides family pulled in million directions and the brides father with that unique expression that only a girls father can have.I miss the little kids who are free of parental supervision, run free and eat and do anything they want.They are upto mischief all the time.Seniors getting a lot of attention and respect, loads of namaskarams and people to talk to.
It is a not to be missed orchestra.I am all for the 3 days of wedding celebration for those who can afford it.When do we get the time to have so much fun in this fast moving times?Although, the cost of a 3 day wedding is too much for the bride's family.If weddings are a shared event then I am all for it.It is a memorable event for all invovled.
The most memorable part of weddings in any culture would be the wedding feast.The success of a wedding lies in how well the guests were fed and taken care of.Mostly it is the most well planned part of the wedding.This reminds me of the wedding song in my marriage album - 'Bhojanam seiya vaarungal', some of the lyrics gives in detail the food that is served at South Indian weddings.My husband always says when he hears this song we will serve all these dishes at our sons wedding in the future(makes me smile).Lyrics include these dishes below.I have interpreted them for you as well as I am able to,some of them I am not so sure.I will try/attempt and give the recipes for these in the future in my blog.
Maanthayir pachadi (Mango curd side dish/relish,goes with the main meal),
thengai poo pachadi (grated coconut flakes relish),
Vellarikai Kichadi (cucumber relish/salad),
parangikkai pachadi (red pumpkin relish),
Vidha vidha maagave vatral appalam (different kinds of fried sundried goodies),
paangulla kootu (vegetable medley),
daangar pacchadi (made with sour curds and besan flour),
pagarkkai kasakkal (made with bittergourd),
kathrikkai thuvatal (Brinjal fry),
vazhaikkai varuval (raw banana chips),
Vazhaipoo thuruval ( banana flower stir fry),
Kungurukku sugamana samba arisi yena ( a special kind of rice),
mottha paruppum ( cooked thuvar dal),
puthurukku neyyum (clarified butter).
Bhojanam seiya varungal...(Welcome to partake of a feast)
Poritcha kuzhambu (vegetable sambhar made with coconutand roasted dals),
Pusinikkai sambhar (White pumpkin sambar),
Vendaikkai morkadhi ( fried Okra/ladies finger-coconut sour curd dish),
Vengaya sambar (small red madras onion sambhar),
Vaikku miga rasikum milagu jeera rasam (black pepper-cumin appetizer soup which will wake your mouth),
Madhuramaai irukum mysore rasamum (rasam made with a lot of powdered spices and coconut),
Paruppugal sertha paneer rasamum (Paneer is a special edible perfumed ingredient with unique scent, used in south indian marraiges, not be mistaken for the namesake cheese),
Venduvorkelaam veppan poo rasamum (fried neem flower rasam),
Kudikka miga rusikkum kottu rasamum ( tempered simple rasam made with red chillies,tastes delicious),
Soorya udhayampol seerum appalam ( papad that blooms like the rising sun in oil),
Sukla udhayyam pol jevv arisi karuvadam ( sun dried fryums that look like rising moon),
Akkara vadisal ( Iyengar sweet preparation with jaggery),
Sakkarai pongal (sweet made with riceand jaggery),
Sojji vadaiyudan (semolina vadai),
Nallaennai vadaiyum (vadai fried in sesame oil),
Thayir vadaiyum ( fried vadai soaked in tempered curd),
Paal poligalum ( dal and jaggery in a flat bread soaked in milk),
Anarasam adhirasam (jaggery and rice fried sweet),
Padir peniyudan ( sweet made of maida in the shape offine vermicelli),
Semiya halwa (vermicilli semisolid cake),
Jilebi ( fried sweet made of ground urad dal and soaked in sugar syrup),
Laddo (sweet made of besan flour and sugar syrup),
muthu muthai irukkum munthiri laadoo ( spherical sweet made of cashews)
rumyamai irukum rava ladoo (sweet semolina spherical sweets),
besha irukum besari ladoo (another sweet preparation),
Mysore pagudan ( square sweet made of besan flour sugar and clarified butter),
burfiyum serthu (coconut and sugar squares),
Bhojanam seiya varungal...raaja...Bhojanam seiya varungal.
Porikani vargangal (Fruits and berries),
Pachai nadam pazham (special type of fruit...I guess),
Then kadali pazhamum ( this is a commonly available banana) ,
Sevvazhai pazhamum (red banana),
Nenthiram pazhathudan (unripe plaintains ,the long variety),
Maambazha dhinusugal (varieties of mango),
Pala pazhathudan (jackfruit),
Annasi pazhamum (pineapple),
aadai parimalikkum aadai thayir vennai thangamal serthu (curd with butter and cream not removed),
Bagaalabathu (curd rice),
pala dhinusaana chithra annagalum (varieties of mixed rice preparations),
ranjithamagiya Inji oorugai ( ginger pickle),
vedukkena kadikum maavadu oorugai ( baby mango pickle that is crisp to bite),
pandiyil parimaarinaar (this is what they served at the feast),
paarthu parimaarinaar ( they served with a lot of attention to detail)...
Bhojanam seiya varungal.
Now you may realize why I miss weddings so much,with this mouth-watering song I rest my case...Susvaad.