Turmeric leaf touch to Prathamastami

They are particularly in demand for their aroma.

Published: 30th November 2018 02:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th November 2018 07:37 AM   |  A+A-

A man buying turmeric leaves on the eve of Prathamastami in Baripada | Express

Express News Service

BARIPADA: The markets in Mayurbhanj district are flooded with turmeric leaves on the eve of Prathamastami, a festival during which mothers offer prayers for the firstborn, which will be observed on Friday. The leaves are used for preparing ‘Enduri Pitha’ or ‘Haladi Patra Pitha’, the delicacy of the festival.The cake, made of rice and black gram (with sweet stuffing), is wrapped with a turmeric leaf and steamed. Turmeric is widely cultivated in the tribal-dominated district.

They are particularly in demand for their aroma. Traders from other regions come here to buy the leaves in bulk. “Early winter is the harvesting time. A bundle of five turmeric leaves is priced between `10 and `15,” said a trader.

The festival, also know as ‘Padhuanastami’ in northern Odisha, is celebrated on Astami tithi Krushna Paksha in Odia month of Margashira. During the festival, every elder son or daughter of the family eats turmeric-leaf cakes before applying turmeric cream on the body. Then he or she wear new dress, which is brought by his or her uncle or parents.

Eating turmeric-leaf cakes has health benefits. It helps in boosting digestion. The leaf’s aroma intensifies as it is cooked  and the plant’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties seep into the food.  Ashish Kumar Pattnayak, an advocate, said the celebration of Prathamastami is  special. Eating turmeric-leaf cakes and applying turmeric cream on the body have  medicinal values, he added.

Ayurvedic expert Dr Sanat Kumar Dash said the unique dish amongst the Indian cuisine bears a good deal of therapeutic values along with soothing and appetising aroma. Curcumin leaves are anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, immune-booster and also good for skin care. They have also some anti-cancer properties, the expert said.


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