Tuesday, March 31, 2009

But wait, there’s more

Last night I wrote about Ugadi, or Telugu New Year. When we were talking with my amma (mother-in-law) to prepare that post, she filled us in on the full range of preparations and celebrations. I took copious notes.

Here’s a list of what else we could have done (and likely will be doing next year now that I have the lowdown):

- Decorate the mirror with jewelry and a flower on top

- Include betel nuts and leaves with the fruit

- Make sure the lamp faces out (see the picture above -- it amused my amma and produced this note)

- Prepare panchamirtham – literally, five-items elixir, which symbolizes the sweetness and bitterness of life -- a jam-like concoction of cardamom, raisins, honey, raisins, banana, tamarind, jaggery (unrefined, semi-moist molasses-tasting sugar) and rock candy, with neem flowers on top. I realize that’s more than five things, but that’s the list my mother-in-law gave me, and she’s the expert. It’s made the night before and placed on the shrine, then eaten when you drink the milk.

- Break a coconut as you’re praying (the second time) and pour its milk into a bowl with tulsi (basil) leaves

- Decorate front porch with rice flour mandala (this is done after the first prayer)

- Prepare sandalwood (a paste of sandalwood powder and water) and kunkum (I think of this as blessing powder; it’s a vermillion shade of red) and apply both to the forehead after the final prayer

- In the evening, prepare a meal of kesari, payasam, variety rice (tamarind, tomato, coconut, lemon, curd etc.), vada, appalams (you may know this as papadams), and vegetables

- Give the money from the shrine to children

- Visit the temple in the morning or evening

Clearly, I’m going to need to plan ahead – and hit the Indian grocery store. I'll also be consulting the cheat sheet I typed up.

1 comment:

  1. Took the opportunity on this rainy afternoon to treat myself and catch up on Married to the Masala. Thanks for the education, the humor and for the wonderful glimpses into your psyche.


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