Categorized | Community

“Samya Baji”, An Authentic Traditional Newari Cuisine and “Indra Jatra Festival”

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

Uttam Makaju

Toronto

Nepal, the land of diversity in ethnicity, enjoys a great deal of cultural richness. Among the different communities of Nepal, Newar community is considered as richest community in culture. They are believed to be the most ancient inhabitants of Kathmandu valley.

Newar culture is very rich in pageantry and ritual throughout the year. One can observe festival or ritual each month in Newar community. Among the different festivals, “Indra Jatra” stands most attractive in Newar community. It is called “Yenya “ in Newari language.

Newars have lot of festivals and each ceremony holds different kind of food. Most of the festivals in Newar culture are celebrated according to the lunar calendar. Food, according to their ceremony, holds importance in terms of climate, health and nutrition. During the Indra Jatra, people prepare a combination of dishes called “Samya Baji” and give away to general public.

Samya baji is one of the intensely popular combination of Newari foods. It is believed that the system of Samaya baji came into existence after Newars started settling in Kathmandu valley. Samya baji is served to the family members and neighbours during the special worship of the God. It is also a public belief that distribution of Samya baji brings fortune, good health and prosperity. One of the basic characteristics of Samya baji is all the items are dried.

The “Samaya baji” combination is not only a food but also a super protein packed, well balanced appetizer that eats like meal. You will love the beaten rice, barbequed chicken, fried fish, boiled egg, soybeans, and diced ginger that this ‘all-in-one’ dish offers. The combination of spices and ingredients will boost not only the flavor, but your immune and digestive system as well.

Samy Baji includes a bara, a pie made out of black gram, fried musya ( marinated soybeans), lava (garlic), palu (fresh ginger rhizomes), stir fried tukauchha (mustard greens leafy vegetables), alu achar ( marinated potato), chhoyla (barbequed meat) bodi (beans), pannchkwa (a curry made out of five different vegetables and beans), full boiled fried eggs, fresh fried fish and fruits. At first sight, Samya Baji looks like more than enough for one person, but as you start of taste evolution , you’ll certainly ask for more. To further the experience, thoen (rice beer) is served with it.

As mentioned earlier, Samaya baji is a constellation of different elements like protein, vitamin, carbohydrates and so on. However, it is interesting to know that our forefathers have honoured some of the Samaya baji items to different Hindu deities. Like egg, fish and ginger are symbolized as Bramha ( creator), Bishnu (manager) and Maheswor (destructor) respectively.

Canadian Newa Guthi (www.canadiannewaguthi.org), a Greater Toronto Area based not for profit organization has been organizing “Samaya baji picnic” for last eight years.

 For the year 2014, the organization has set the picnic date on Sunday, August 31, at Wilket Creek Park, Toronto, ON.

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