Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Sankranti! Happy Pongal!

Today is a paid holiday in Bangalore - it is the festival of Sankranti or Pongal - whichever you like.  Tamilians celebrate Pongal and Kannadigas celebrate Sankranti.  I think they're the same thing, in both cases, you deck out your cow today and feed the cow some "pongal" - a rice dish.

Cows do so much for us, with their five products (milk, butter, cheese, cream, yogurt) and even their poop is used as cooking and heating fuel.  Today is like Mother's Day for cows.  You give her a nice mani/pedi, paint her horns, put bells on her horns and a necklace of bells, and you can even paint her hide with different colors of powder!  Beautiful!  Howda! ChandAM!  

And you must treat her to a nice breakfast of "chakra pongal" - a sort of rice pudding.

My mother-in-law treated my daughter and i to a truly desi treat today.  She brought us each a stick of sugar cane.  She then ripped the very thin bark off with her teeth, broke a section off, and divided it between us two.  My daughter LOVED it... 

It's a little like an apple, but with more of a "twiggy" feel when you chew it.  You're supposed to just chew it, suck the juice from it and only swallow the juice, you spit out the fibers.  This was right up my daughter's alley.  Her 2-year molars are troubling her, so she kept putting the stick of cane in just the right spot!  She also loves spitting - yes, we are so proud...  so for someone to encourage her to spit something out, she thought it was the best thing ever!

Usually she greets her "amooma" with a series of smacks (A-DEE! A-DEE! she will victoriously declare - A-dee means "beat'), rather than hugs and kisses.  I think today Amooma finally won the war for her heart and mind.  "Amooma!  .... LUCKY DAY!", she declared. 

I rather enjoyed eating the sugar cane, too...  I kinda felt like a monkey eating it... maybe that's why it's fun!

1 comment:

Indie Mama said...

I still remember the first time I tasted real sugar cane - we were visiting India, in Madras, and my parents stopped the car and bought us some from a guy who was plowing it - fresh from the field. YUMMY!