Happy New Year!
LET 2018 BE THE YEAR OF NEW BEGINNINGS AND THEIR COMPLETION!
Happy and Healthy New Year to all from Manoj, me and our daughters, Srimal Wangu Choi and Zoon Wangu!
Thaal Bharun (filling a plate) and Thaal Vuchuun (Looking at the filled plate) are two beloved rituals of Kashmiris on Navreh (New Year’s Day).
The night of New Year’s Eve, after everyone is asleep, the mother fills a plate with uncooked rice, and snugly places bowls of milk and yogurt; sugar and salt over the rice. A piece of fresh fruit and dry fruit, a book, notebook, pen, gold jewelry, coins, and a mirror are decorated around the bowls. Other items such as red chili, pod of tamarind may also be artfully placed beside them.
The following morning, the New Year’s Day, the first thing each family member looks at is the Thaal. By careful looking the symbolic meaning of each item in the plate is internalized. Rice symbolizes sustenance and gold abundance. The transformative process of milk turning into yogurt symbolizes skill, method, duration and patience it requires for any task to begin, develop and complete. Fresh fruit and flowers celebrate fullness of life; dry fruit passing of time. Sugar, salt, sour and spice signify inevitable emotional feelings we experience through the year.
My favorite part is the mirror. We are supposed to look at ourselves in the mirror and during the day quietly assess the past year and contemplate how to make the coming year better than the last.
The Navreh (New Year) Thaal is displayed prominently throughout the day for family members and visitors to see. At the end of the day each ingredient is transferred back to where it was taken from as the blessed food.
(Also, each Thaal expresses unique personality and interest of the mother who fills the plate.)