Baisakhi 2023: Knowing The Importance Of Rice

Every year on April 14, Sikhs celebrate Baisakhi, a harvest festival. The winter crops, often referred to as Rabi crops, are harvested on this day. For Sikhs throughout, it is a highly important holiday. The first day of the Hindu calendar month of "Baisakh," which also happens to be the first month, is when Baisakhi is observed. The entire farming community celebrates it as Thanksgiving Day. On this day, a tradition known as "Awat Pauni" takes place as farmers gather their produce while merrily singing and dancing to the vivacious beats of the dhol. This is how they express gratitude to their god for a successful harvest. 

For the Sikh community, Baisakhi is also very important since it marks the auspicious day in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh Ji founded the Khalsa at Kesgarh in Anandpur Sahib Ji. People in India commemorate this event on this day with great fervour and dress in various hues of yellow and orange. Not only do individuals add a hint of gold and yellow to some of their cuisine, but also to their clothing and decorative elements. On this day, people prepare rice dishes - meethy chawal, kadhi, and kheer in particular. 

Why rice dishes are prepared?  

One of the most popular foods on the planet, rice is a staple in many nations, including India, where 50% of the population relies on the grain for survival. Although many people are familiar with India's basmati rice, the nation really cultivates about 6,000 distinct types of rice. With indicators of rice use in the Ganges river valley as early as 6500 BC, archaeological evidence of rice cultivation in India implies that this grain served as the foundation of the country's ancient civilizations. The employed varieties and the lack of any known data transfer mechanisms imply that rice farming started throughout the great Asian civilizations in what are now India, China, Thailand, and other places essentially independently. 

These dishes, sometimes referred to as Kesari chawal or meethe chawal, are common in Sikh homes during Basant Panchmi and Baisakhi. Rice and sugar syrup combine to make a tasty dish. Aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves are boiled with a lot of dry fruits and sweetened rice. Saffron is added at the last to give the rice a final touch. It not only adds a deliciously rich flavour but also gives a brilliant yellow colour that absolutely goes with the festival. Approximately 110,000 different rice types have emerged in the last 2,000 years alone in India! However, in general, India produces both white and brown rice varieties on a considerable scale. 

The most well-known sweet dish around India is a white dish with a tinge of saffron hue. Without this dessert, a festival would be without. The most popular sweet food in India is kheer, which tops the list. It is nutritious and delicious. You are losing out on some delicious Indian food flavour if you haven't tried it yet. Rice, sugar, thick full-cream milk, and numerous dried almonds are the main ingredients in kheer. 

On this day, attire in yellow and orange hues is also common. Their food exhibits the same impact. If you happen to be in Punjab during this time, make sure to try the kadhi pakoda with steaming rice, meethe peele chawal, maa ki daal, and meetha gujiya.