When it comes to food traditions and rituals. Indian Food System is one of the best balance regimens that include optimum quantities of all nutrients conceived into delicious dishes that are easily digestible. Our ancestors even had appropriate meal timings devised to ensure proper and timely metabolism and digestion for adequate energy to carry out tasks throughout the day. An ancient custom or animal living in a reason is the diet consisting of nutrients produced in the same area. We have eventually evolved through the years to belong to a tropical climate and are accustomed to the foods and lifestyles offered in this country. Have you ever thought about why Indians have a tradition of washing their hands before and after the food? The old Indian custom was not to speak/talk during their food intake. Indian tradition never allows fast food traditions. Let us find out the primary reasons.
WHY DO WE FEED CROWS BEFORE A MEAL?
In Indian tradition, extra importance is given to crows as they are considered ancestors. The cooking of a meal takes place for the family for the day. A part of every dish from food is kept outside for crows feast. And then that the members of the family have the gratification of having fed their ancestors. Are our ancestors or our forefathers just spinning yarns? There is an interesting reason behind this age-old tradition. Earlier on when there was no electricity and hence no proper light in the early hours of the morning. People were doubtful of the food they prepared.
The crow, as we all know, is a creature that can eat almost anything and that which never refuses food. Interestingly, it can smell the presence of whatsoever kind of poison in food. It just refuses to feed if it senses poison in it. Masses from ancient times happened to use the crow as a tester for food smartly without harming it. This is one of the food traditions, even today people follow it in the interior part of India.
WHY DO WE PREFER DRINKING WATER FROM COPPER VESSEL?
Copper is considered an essential mineral for our body. Copper does have antimicrobial properties. Ayurveda recommends storing water overnight in a copper jug and drinking it first thing in the morning for maintaining full health. The water stored this way is called Tamra Jal, and it helps to balance all three doshas (Kapha, Vata, and Pitta.)
The metal copper has electromagnetic energy that is called Prana Shakti. The store of drinking water for 8-10 hours in a copper vessel is very beneficial. Copper makes the water, ionic that helps to keep the body’s pH (acid-alkaline) balance. It stimulates the brain, aids in weight loss, and slows down ageing. It assists the body in fighting off cancer.
WHY DO ANCIENT PEOPLE PROVIDE DRINKS IN A SILVER TUMBLER?
Before the advent of modern germicides and antibiotics, it was a well-known fact that disease-causing pathogens could not live in the presence of silver. Therefore, the use of silver was there in dishware, drinking vessels, and eating utensils.
Scientifically, the silver metal served a specific role for the host. The metal was germicidal, and so it helped prevent any infection that the guests might carry inside. In Ayurvedic medicine, the use of silver is there in small quantities as a tonic, elixir or rejuvenating agent for patients debilitated by age or disease. This is one of the food traditions, Even today people follow it in the interior part of India.
WHY DO WE WASH OUR HANDS BEFORE FOOD INTAKE?
Indians eat food by hand for many scientific reasons. According to Vedas, the hands are one of the most precious organs of action. The scriptures explain how every finger is an annexe of the five elements. Through the thumb comes space, with the forefinger comes to air, the middle finger is fire, the ring finger is water, and the little finger represents earth. Hence, eating with fingers stimulates these five factors and aids in bringing forth digestive juices in the stomach.
Feeding should be a sensory experience, and it should stir your emotion. The nerve endings on our fingertips stimulate digestion (acupuncture points). Feeling your food turns a way of signalling the stomach that you are about to consume. You become more conscious of the taste, textures, and smells. When you are aware of the food you are eating, your intake portions will be in control. When you are more concentrating on your food, it will control your speed of intake, giving space for good digestion. As you rinse your hands before food intake, it’s more hygiene.
THE ANCIENT FOOD TRADITIONS OF SPRINKLING WATER
It is a belief that this ancient practice was started by sages in old times, who spent most of their lives living in forest areas or row houses. The floors weren’t concrete on which they sat and ate food. Moreover, the food is served on banana leaves. The food was prone to be disclosed to the mud floor, making it unhealthy. That’s why water is sprinkled around the plates to settle the mud or dust particles down. Dirt contains bacteria that may lead to allergic reactions and other health troubles.
Some other reason may be that sprinkling water was also a neat way to keep insects and pests at bay, especially at night when there is barely any light. It is a feeling that ants or any insect cannot cross or tread upon the water. This is one of the food traditions, Even today people follow it in the southern part of India.
WHY DO WE EAT WHILE SITTING ON FLOOR?
In India, people traditionally ate their meals seated cross-legged on the floor. This sitting position is called “Sukhasana” Sukhasana is the posture that we usually use for Yoga asanas. The body relaxed, preparing the body ready for the digestive process. It is a belief that it automatically activates the signals to your brain to prepare the stomach for digestion. The constant movement of bending forward, strengthening, and carried out the release of digestive juices. It enhances speedy digestion while sitting and taking the joints were made more flexible and remove the ailments like Arthritis. This is one of the food traditions, Even today people follow it in every region of India.
THE FOOD TRADITIONS OF USING OF BANANA LEAFS FOR MEALS
The use of banana leaves for meals is an Eco-friendly, disposable food serving system followed and also saved a lot of water. It requires little cleaning with water. You spend less water, unlike if you use plates, you need to use up more water for cleaning it. It is a need for water-scarce India. The banana leaf will be a drop in the garden that will recycle as manure back. It degrades quickly and is unlike a metallic/porcelain utensil.
WHY DO WE START EATING WITH SPICE & END WITH SWEET?
Our ancestors stressed the fact that we should start up every meal with spicy food and take sweet dishes towards the end. What was the scientific rationale behind this theory? It is well-known that when we take spicy food, the body secretes digestive juices and acids that enhance the digestive process. Sweets contain a portion of carbohydrates that make for slow digestion. Also, the intake of sweets enhances the absorption of amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan increases the degree of serotonin in a neurotransmitter associated with the notions of well-being. That is the feeling that we experience at the end of a full meal. This is one of the food traditions, Even today people follow it in some parts of India.
HAVING CURD WITH ADDED SUGAR BEFORE LEAVING FOR GOOD DEEDS
Eating curd and sugar has no links to success in life before leaving. The soul is anxious and full of nerves, because of which many avoid eating food. The curd has a cooling effect on the consistency, and the sugar is a source of instant glucose. Hence, even if you haven’t eaten well, you won’t feel weak during the day. The combination is an incredible health tonic for sunny days. The belief of all superstitions should not be there, but this one holds a logical explanation, so the choice is up to you. This is one of the food traditions, Even today people follow it in every part of India.
WHY DO WE NOT EAT MEAT ON TUESDAY, THURSDAY & SATURDAY?
Eating meat fulfils body requirements of vitamins and iron, but eating meat every day is unhealthy. It can have numerous diseases such as piles, kidney stones, colon cancer, and so many. Hindus selected these days to God to resist people getting addicted to consuming meat every day. The Rational Hindus do not use up meat on specific days like Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The scientific reason behind it is that as a human, we require just a nominal amount of meat to fulfil the requirements of our body like iron, vitamin B12, and other vital nutrients. Hence, our ancestors have placed some restrictions by appointing days to specific divinities.
THE FOOD TRADITIONS OF NOT CHEWING TULSI
As per Hindu tradition, it is a famous belief that Tulsi is the wife of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, chewing it will be a mark of disrespect. However, botanists, in the course of their research, found that those plants have the maximum of mercury. When we chew raw mercury, it results in tooth decay and discolouration. Most of the researchers also say that Tulsi contains some low dose of slightly harmful acid, and since the medium of our mouth is alkaline, it can react with the acidic content in those and cause tooth decay.
Tulsi has a plethora of uses that includes healing power, mosquito repellent, anti-stress agent, respiratory disorder, kidney stone, and so many. Hence, you can rather swallow Tulsi leaves rather than chewing them and hurting your teeth. Moreover, you can besides use the powered or juiced form of the Tulsi leaves as herbal medicine.
WHY DO WE CONSUME TILGUL ON MAKAR SANKRANTI?
Makar Sankranti is the celebration of til-gul where the distribution of sesame and jaggery laddoos or chikkis takes place among all. Tilgul is a very colourful and excellent sesame candy made of sesame seeds and jaggery. Til-gul ghya ani gud bola means eat these sesame seeds and jaggery and talk sweet words. The celebration is one of holding where each individual from society is requested that wipe the slate clean with adversaries and enemies and live in peace. Additionally, it is a superstition that amid the celebration, the Sun God overlooks his outrage on his child Shani and visits him. Hence, by conveying desserts, everybody is requested that spread happiness around.
Since the celebration of Makar Sankranti falls in midwinter. Tilgul recipe is a combination that helps prevent the body from warm due to these heat-generating ingredients making it a healthy sweet to savour. In Ayurveda, it is a belief that Sesame is an extremely secure and beneficial medicine. Sesame ladoos are helpful for those children who have the problem of bed-wetting in winters. Hence, the circulation of this sweet means holding and great wellbeing. This is one of the food traditions, Even today people follow it in the interior part of India.
THE FOOD TRADITIONS OF DOING FAST ONCE A WEEK
Fast is one of the primary ideologies of Ayurveda. This ancient Indian medical system finds out the primary cause of many diseases is the accumulation of toxic materials in the digestive system. By fasting, we serve to cleanse the system and regulate body performance. A complete fast is a sound for health with occasional sips of lime juice during the point of fasting prevents flatulence.
The body contains 80% liquid and 20% solid as the same as the earth. The gravitational force of the Moon sometimes created disturbances in the body. It causes emotional imbalances in the body, making some people tense, irritable, and violent. Fasting acts as an antidote and helps to dilute down the intake of acid attack regulating stress and fury. Modern research suggests that fasting helps to correct several ailments, including Alzheimer’s, reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and so many. There is a popular misconception that by keeping fast, we become weak. On the contrary, fasting cleansed the system and preserving the physiological balance. A day of fasting helps the digestive system and facilitates the proper functioning of various organs like the liver, kidney, pancreas, and so many.
WHY DO WE CELEBRATE NAVRATRI?
Have you ever thought, why do we have Navratri twice a year, unlike other festivals like Diwali or Holi? Our lifestyle has drastically altered if we compare it to society thousands of years ago. The traditions which we remark at present are not establishments of today but the past. The scientific reason behind it as these months are about changing seasons. The eating habits of both seasons are quite distinct from each other.
Navratri gives adequate time to the body to regulate and educate itself for the changing season. These nine days were described as a period when people would saturate their body system by keeping fasts by avoiding excessive salt. Meditation gains a lot of optimism, self-confidence & boosts self-determination power. Fasts are an intermediate to improve our willpower and self-determination. Finally, we get ready for the challenges of the changing season.
AUTHOR’S LAST WORDS ON FOOD TRADITIONS
When we pursue these traditions and rituals, it becomes a habit, and keeping up good manners makes you gentlemen. When science supports these traditions and customs, then the advantages are uncountable. We should continue up these rational traditions! These are the food traditions, even today people follow them in the interior part of India.
Composed By: Abhay Ghanghas