Each of our Indian festivals have some definite food items/recipes adhered to it. If we analyse each festival and the foods associated with it, we can find them highly scientific.
From today the heat will increase still more…..no Science can challenge our calendars. In different regions again we have a shift of Chandra masas (Lunar months) little bit here and there. For example, Tamil calendar is 15 days behind Odia calendar. But Saura Barsha (Solar year) is quite fixed.
This festival offers food that are just apt to beat the heat. We also call this Panaa Sankranti (Panaa= drink) as Panaa is offered to Sun God. It contains Bilwa (wood apple, whose leaves are offered to Lord Shiva), Jaggery or sugarcane juice, banana, coconut and as digestive, the black pepper powder. It takes care of both Calorie and hydration.
Coming to each ingredient,; Bilwa/ Bela- probably such a fruit whose medicinal effects we haven’t explored fully yet, but mostly it is for gastrointestinal well-being.
Jaggery/sugarcane- provide calorie and unlike refined sugar it is considered to be healthy.
Banana, coconut- provide calorie and invisible fat (good fat)
Some people may add ginger paste juice or grated mango as the latter is a seasonal fruit and enhance the taste of it. Homemade paneer (cheese) also is added to make it richer.
Overall, one full glass of it and it keeps your stomach filled till long hours owing to high fibre content of Bela and all the ingredients. Regular use of “Bela panaa” will cure one of long standing gastric acidity and constipation etc.
The plant shown in the figure is Tulsi, usually kept in the courtyard of square type houses, so that the good air goes to the house in all directions.
I had once written about Miraculous Tulsi and its antioxidant effects.
Due to heat, the plant may wither and hence a small earthen pot is hung with a small hole at its bottom and like today’s modern drip irrigation, a small straw attached to it, keeps the plant hydrated and safe from scorching heat.
Today we boast about Clinical trials and studies done in the lab but the enormous knowledge that our seers and sages have left for us, we have not yet explored 0.0001% of it.
Jay Bharatmata ki!