A Food Gift From A Quirky Indian Festival

indian festival food

Today, our cook wasn’t supposed to come, but she arrived with her son around 4pm with a bag and a dabba, which is an Indian-style tiffin carrier, with several layered containers that come apart, each filled with different cooked foods.

tiffin box
Dabba, Indian-style Tiffin Box

I said “not today” in Hindi ( because I know very little), meaning she didn’t have to come cook today. But her son, who knows a little english, said “today is festival.” I asked which festival?, and he said “snakes.” I let the comment pass.

She started taking her container apart and putting every dish in different of my containers (so that she could take hers). She had brought us all these festival foods. She came to just drop it off and left after maybe 5 minutes. It was very sweet. It was another of those moments that make us like India.

Papad and a fun puffed fried rice snack.

There are so many festivals in India, apparently like 2 or 3 each month according to Adinath. Today is Nag Panchami.

This is what I just found on Google about Nag Panchami:

“This festival is all about the worship of snakes, which are especially dug out and gathered for the occasion. On the day of Nag Panchami, villagers dance to music and carry the snakes in pots on their heads in procession to the temple. After the rituals are complete, the snakes are taken out from the pots and the temple priest sprinkles haldi-kumkum (tumeric and red powder) and flowers on their raised heads. The snakes are offered plenty of milk and honey, then set free in the temple courtyard.

Nag PanchamiThe surprising thing about Nag Panchami is that although the venomous fangs aren’t removed from the snakes, they’re not known to bite anyone. Special care is taken of the snakes in the lead up to the festival. They’re pampered with a diet of fresh milk and rats.

When: Nag Panchami takes places every year on the fifth day of the bright half of the Hindu month Shravan (July or August). You’ll be able to see more snake charmers than usual out on the streets of India during the festival.

Where:Mostly in rural areas, particularly Battis Shirala village, Maharastra. Other popular places include Adiesha Temple in Andhra Pradesh, Nagaraja Temple in Kerala, Nagathamman Temple in Chennai, and Hardevja Temple in Jaipur.”

If I had known about this in advance, I may have gone out of my way to go find villagers celebrating and take photos! Maybe next year.

Maharashtrian Amti and Rice
Spicy Potato Fritters
Sweet puri with brown sugar. The sweet version of chapati. Delicious.

Pala PuriWe had Shekhar over for dinner to help us eat all this delicious food and we confirmed that we have an awesome cook. Josh and I had loved her cooking since the beginning, but we are not homemade-Indian-food experts.  So today, Shekhar tasted her food and said that she is really good. We also learned that she lives just like 3 minutes away from us.

6 thoughts on “A Food Gift From A Quirky Indian Festival

  1. To me.. there is NO better food on this planet than Indian food. I fell in love with it from the first bite. I’m not such a good cook but living in NJ has it’s silver lining because there are Indian buffets all over!….
    There are so many other things in India that I don’t think I could put up with.. the men using the streets and walls as public bathrooms.. the totally lack of driving skills… the flys and bugs… seeing the poor cows, that are supposed to be honored eating plastic bags because they are starving and they their intestines get tangled and die.. too many poor people and that caste system.. how do you get around all that?
    I am a believer in God.. but never hear him telling me to pack up and move somewhere!!… Love this blog…


    1. Thanks! You are right about everything you just said. It is very hard living around all those things, but I hate to say that having come to India many times (over 10), I am kind of used to the sights. However, I am learning LOTS of things about india as I am now living here, instead of just visiting. One thing that is really bothering me is all the bugs, in and out of your home. Also, the way people do things (do anything) is different than the way people do in the US. So, there is some adjusting, adapting and having patience. How do I get all around it? It’s a good question. I just do. And by remembering that us being here, is 100% God’s will and wish. Once you accept that, everything is a bit easier. This acceptance gives me the strength.


  2. There are a few things you can do to counter all the bugs. One is one of those bug zappers (looks like a racquet (that you play racquetball with) and is battery operated. Another is the Mosquito coils that can be lit. The latter seems to work great (never seen so many cockroaches come out of the woodwork when I had one lit in a hotel in amritsar!)

    Looks like a nice quaint area you are living in! I saw the farmers gave you some fresh veggies one day. How awesome. You’ll be amazed at the number of people that will help.

    I miss India a lot. I happened upon your blog when I was looking for ways to stay in India. Not sure what business your husband is doing, but what a wonderful way to be in India! I was there for only 6 months and dream every day of going back. I didn’t want to leave.


    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for your tips. We actually do have one of those zappers and we also have many mosquito plug-in repellents all over the house. They do help, but they don’t eradicate the problem and they don’t keep all bugs away, like ants.
      With that love you have for India, I hope you can be back soon.


      1. Hi Mani,
        I was reading through your blog and your amazing experiences.
        I’m an Indian settled in the US.
        One thing I remember from when I was young – my mom taught me that rangolis (designs outside the house) are made with rice flour so ants are fed outside the house and don’t enter the house.
        Rice flour is easily available in stores.


      2. Hi MP,
        I love rangolis! I thought they had a cultural and maybe religious depiction but I didn’t know about its practical use. Thanks for the tip! I would love to make one. 🙂 How do they color the rice flour?
        Also, I am wondering if it might attract so many ants that that our entrance is full of them. Even if they don’t come inside, that would be gross :s


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