Eating has been and is vital to the Indian way of life. If religious eating is a little subdued, ceremonial eating is extensive and expansive. Indians just do not need an excuse to eat!
Main ceremonies are the weddings where eating arrangements are always huge. In earlier days there used to be snacks and teas, but now a belly filling, rich and full meal is the norm. There are various functions or rituals spreading over a maximum of five days within a marriage ceremony and each of these are never complete without sumptuous meals. Even two days after the formal wedding the bridegroom’s family hosts a feast for near and dear ones in some sections of the Hindu. Eight days later the party is repeated at the bride’s place, though with limited invitations.
Other ceremonies where eating is central include birthdays, anniversaries, initiating newborns to staple diet, sacred thread function for Hindu Brahman boys and so on. Such occasions, ceremonies and functions keep people’s expectations for good eating prospects rising and rising, so much so that they expect to have a grub on all other formal occasions too like professional concerts, book releases, open discussion forums, literary meets and just anything. The hosts or organizers now look on this part as a ‘must’ or they fear no eaters…err sorry…no audience will turn up!
The funerals are also no exceptions. In normal Hindu families funerals range from 11 to 13 days of rituals and formalities. On the fourth day near and dear ones outside the concerned family are served food. On the eleventh day a public reception is held along with the main religious ritual. On the thirteenth day there a big feast again when the members of the mourning family come back to normal food habits.
The never ending eating spree often puts people in great difficulty and health hazards. During particular seasons they get numerous invitations on every single day and they are socially obliged to attend and …to eat. Health conscious and discreet people exercise their own methods of eating management. About all the disorganized ones…well…it’s always advisable not to make any comment!
Eat, eat and be merry!