Mangalore: Aati Brings in Renewal of Spirit and Health
Pics: Kishore B C Road / Ramesh Pandith
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore
Mangalore, Jul 19: Tulunadu, a creation of Parushram, is a land of rich heritage and culture. The cultural traditions of the district are closely associated with the local weather and nature. The monsoon season, named Aati, is one of them.
Ages ago, aati was a month that was the toughest among all the others. The main reason for this is the heavy rain, that restricts people to come out of their homes, says M K Kukkaje, a scholar. It is a time for farmers to take rest after the sowing season for paddy in the field.
The month of Aati is special in many ways. It normally arrives in the month of July and August. Rainfall occurs in its full glory during this time of the year. Mother Nature is seen at its greenest at this time.
No auspicious events are organised in this month. With heavy rain and no proper work for people, it feels like a month of total rest, especially for the farmers.
The only feast celebrated during this month is Nagara Panchami. As per Hindu tradition, people worship the serpent god, Naga with zest. One visits one's native place to offer milk and other offerings to Naga. Serving food for the departed souls and praying for their eternal peace is also observed during the month of Aati.
Aati Amavasye, a day which comes in the month of aati is very famous. People drink Paleda Ketteda Kasaya (a medicinal drink prepared out of the bark of a tree). Almost all people drink this medicine irrespective of religion. It is said that this medicine has high antibiotic powers and can prevent diseases for almost a year.
Aatida Thammana and Aati Kullunu is another tradition that was followed earlier. A newly married bride was sent to her native during this season and her groom’s family that used to go to get her back, would be given a royal treat (thammana).
When one hears this name 'aati', the main thing that comes to mind is the special food items that are prepared in this month. The most popular ones are Uppad pacchil, Santhani, Appala, Kanile, tevu, tajank, kukkuda mambala, gonkuda mambala, kerengda balaga, pacchilda balaga, kaatkene and many more to mention. These are not only food items, but have medicinal powers in them.
At the same time, the season is also conducive to insects and pests to breed. So man is more prone to sickness this season. It is with this regard, that man starts pleading and pleasing nature to be considerate towards him. This is termed as the the origin of the Aati Kalenja cult in Tulunadu.
Aati Kalenja is a tradition which has a connection with weather and changes in the nature which occur from on a regular basis. This rich tradition is gradually disappearing from Tulunadu nowadays. One can see this folk dance only in the interior pockets of Tulunadu, during Aati days. There may be various reasons for this.
But it has been noticed and we are experiencing that modern days have failed to keep alive and continue the traditions of yore. It might have to do with our attitude of taking nature for granted. Unless some serious efforts are made by the present generation to preserve and nurture these kinds of rich traditions, the future populace will be nothing but a hi-tech generation which will have hardly any contact with nature.
The lifestyle of people has changed to such an extent, that today the occurrence of aati is totally ignored. It remains an unknown concept, especially in the urban areas.
The rich tradition of Aati Kalenja is missing, except in a few remote villages outside the city limits. No Aati thammana anywhere. The programme is being conducted in a couple of places as a significance of the aati month, but it remains just a one-day play.
People remain devoted to Naga even till today, hence Nagara Panchami is celebrated in almost every place where the existence of the serpent god is sensed.