Remembering South India in December

Festivals and Food from the South

There are many local celebrations happening in southern India in December. Tourists and locals come together in the cooler weather and festive atmosphere in this region. Bookings are sky-high, flights are heavy, and celebrating becomes pretty expensive. Nonetheless, there seems to be no better time to spend extra in hard-to-forget celebrations.

Tamil Nadu in December celebrates the Madras Season of Music and Dance. Everyday, carnatic music, the classic music of south India that dates back 2,500 years, will be played in several concerts all over Chennai City. Also, in Tamil Nadu, a 4-week dance festival, showcasing classical and folk dances will be held in an open-air stage with the magnificent Mamallapuram rock sculptures as backdrop. The Mamallapuram is the renowned and ancient 7th century centre for Pallava culture and art. Both events will run from December to January. Elaborate meals on banana leaves are served, notably are steamed rice, tomato rice, dal, sambar or lentil stew, kara kuzhambu (spicy stew with a coconut base or dal base), rasam (tamarind stew with other herbs and spices), curd, and plenty of vegetables, plus milk base or coconut milk base payasam.

In Goa, there’s the 3-day festival of music and dance and shopping. It’s called the Sunburn Festival. It’s an electronic dance music festival, with international DJs, held every year on the last week of December at Candolim beach of Goa. The festival is regarded as Goa’s best and the ninth best music festival in the world. Focus here is on the food and entertainment. Goan cuisine is mostly seafood-based; Kingfish (vison or visvan) is the most common delicacy. Apart from seafoods, rice, coconut, vegetables, meat, pork and the most intense of spices are some of the main ingredients of Goan food.

At Fort Kochi, in Kerala, the 10-day Cochin Carnival is celebrated at December’s end. There are games and competitions, culminating in a grand parade on the Portuguese New Year’s Day. The parade is the highlight of the carnival, with embellished elephants, costumes, drums, music and partying. On Dec 31, at zero hour, thousands will witness the burning of the massive statue, an effigy of a 35-foot old man named, Pappanji, symbolizing the welcoming of hope and harmony. There are fairs, cultural shows, food festivals, bike and cycle races, rallies, beach football, arts, and so forth to enhance the festive spirit. Kerala cuisine of is mildly flavored and gently cooked, characterized by the use of coconut. Food is a combination of vegetables, meats and seafood flavored with a variety of spices, and cooked mostly in coconut milk.

Celebrating December in Bellevue

We at Spice Route Cuisine celebrate December remembering the delicious and extravagance of South Indian cuisine. Allow us to bring you to the celebrations when you dine with us here in Bellevue.