Saturday, August 28, 2004

Onam, a harvest festival

Onam, a harvest festival

Today is the 28th of August 2004. It is Onam, the malayalee's harvest festival. On Onam, malayalee's celebrate the freshly collected harvest by having a banana leaf meal with a large amount of differently cooked vegetables on it. The meal is a vegetarian meal. The amount of dishes on the banana leaf varies on the individual hosting the house for the meal. There can be either 9,11, 15, 17 or 19 different types of dishes. Last night i attended an onam family dinner at my grandaunts place who was the host this year. We had 17 different dishes on the leaf!

The typical onam menu:
Aviyal (mixture of vegetable dish)
Thoran (any vegetable with grated coconut)
Elessery (pumpkin with red beans)
Olen (Ashgod- White pumpkin with long beans cooked in coconut milk)
Kalin (Banana in yoghurt and coconut milk)
Pachedi (mango with ripe banana blended)
Inchi Puli (ginger with tamarin)
Luichia (some kinda red berry with yoghurt)
Kondatam (green chili dried in yoghurt)
Pavaka (fried bittergod)
Green Peas Dahl with gee
Lime Pickle
Moru (Yoghurt with water, ginger and curry leaves)- not usually put in
White Paiyasam (made with milk)
Brown Paiyasam (made with coconut milk)

Tradition goes, that the the youth will serve the elders first. I learnt alot about indian culture last night while serving these dishes because the elders will sit and tell the tale of what vegetable it is, how it is best made. Only after the elders are done, the youth get to eat.

This is a picture of me after finishing the complete meal. Oh mann, its so filling, I can hardly walk!

To all my fellow bloggers,
Happy Onam!

Is a "Purple Finch" purple?

Is a "Purple Finch" purple?

I watched a documentary on birds while i was at the saloon today and came across a bird that attracted my utmost attention as it was called the "Purple Finch". Yes it may be called a purple finch, but no it is not a purple bird.

The name "Purple Finch" tends to be misleading. The bird is no more purple than it is yellow or blue. Crimson finch would be a more appropriate name. (However, the "purple" of the Bible and of classical writers was not very different from the red of the male purple finch.) The species has also been called "linnet" and even "purple grosbeak." Purple Finches are named for the raspberry-red color of the males. The raspberry color is deepest on the head, nape, face, throat, breast, flanks, and rump. The hindneck, back, and scapular feathers are deep red streaked with brown. Wings and tail are brown and the belly and undertail coverts are white. Now why is it called purple again? The female does not even have a shade near purple. Females are quite different, lacking any red color. The head is pale brown, with fine dark streaks, and a dark ear patch separating a broad white suprecilium and a white moustache stripe. The white moustache stripe is separated from the white of the throat by a brown malar stripe. Back and scapulars are brown and streaked; the rump, tail, and wings are also brown, but unstreaked. Throat, breast, and flanks are white with heavy brown streaks. The belly and undertail coverts are unstreaked white.

The state bird of New Hampshire, the Purple Finch is a bird of coniferous and mixed forests, as well as park-like areas, breeding in the northeastern United States, across southern Canada, and in the Cascades and western Sierra Nevada ranges of the West Coast.

Well this is a little about the Purple Finch for you. Doesn't it still leave you wondering why it's called "Purple Finch" when it has not a single shade of purple?