Glittering Festivals and Revered Offerings

Pageantry and grandeur reach their greatest heights during Kerala’s temple festivals and celebrations. Our religious calendar is crowded with innumerable festivals, both big and small, throughout the year. Several special dishes are prepared as offerings at temple festivals.

Every season ushers in a new festival filled with fun and excitement, each a true celebration of the bounties of nature. The gods of the seasons—wind, rain, and sunshine—are still the main providers in India, where agriculture remains the foundation of the nation’s economy. For the propitiation of the powerful elements of nature, we developed a pantheon of deities endowed with formidable capabilities. We appeal to the forces of nature in the form of offerings, prayers, and festivals.

In addition, every major family celebration, whether it is the birth of a baby, a marriage, or an anniversary, is also an occasion for serving or making a gift of food.

This chapter is devoted to traditional festival fare and foods that are prepared only on special occasions. Although description of every single festival and celebration is beyond the scope of this book, I have included certain special recipes that are prepared for religious, seasonal, and family festivals. Several of these recipes are prepared only once a year, or for a particular festival or celebration.

AMMINI RAMACHANDRAN