Yearly, earlier than the onset of monsoon, individuals in Goa look ahead to a novel honest referred to as Purumanthekem Fest. Held in Panaji and Margao respectively, these two standard festivals nonetheless carry the legacy of a necessary pre-monsoon exercise within the houses of Goans. “Simply earlier than the monsoon, whereas the solar was nonetheless brilliant, my grandmother used to get busy stocking up on a wide range of meals objects,” recollects Nupura Hautamaki, Goa-based advertising and occasions skilled. “As children, we watched in awe as grandmothers appeared to be in every single place—pickling mangoes, drying fish, making sausages, placing the whole lot in pots and jars.”
“It was the identical in every single place throughout Goa,” says Hautamaki. “It was ‘Purumentha’, the meals retailer that might maintain each household in Goa through the monsoons.
Located on the west coast of India, Goa receives heavy rainfall from the southwest monsoon, normally between June and September. Immediately, it is without doubt one of the hottest, year-round vacationer locations in India. However, even just a few many years in the past, life virtually got here to a standstill through the monsoons. Roads could be flooded, transportation restricted, outlets closed – and contemporary fish, certainly one of Goa’s staple meals, could be briefly provide as a result of fishermen didn’t go to sea through the wet season.
Purumentha (additionally Purument or Purmenth) is an age outdated customized practiced in Goa, the place individuals procure several types of meals, course of them and retailer them suitably in order that they final until the monsoon season. Regardless of the dangerous climate, Goans will proceed to get pleasure from their elaborate meals and snacks at residence. It’s a Konkani phrase, derived from the Portuguese phrase for provisions (provimento/proviso). Recall, Goa was a Portuguese colony between 1510 and 1961.
In accordance with historian Fatima da Silva Gracias, writer of Cozinha de Goa: Historical past and Custom of Goan Meals, preparations truly started in February and continued till mid-Could. Meals needed to be cleaned, sun-dried, pickled, fermented (or suitably preserved) to make sure an extended shelf life. At the moment individuals didn’t learn about refrigeration. And since they could not exit, a whole lot of planning was required, she says. Paddy needed to be boiled and straw needed to be eliminated within the mill. Even timber needed to be stocked. Those that lived in large homes had separate rooms to retailer their meals. Dried or pickled mango, jackfruit (the seed was dried for use in curries), coconut and coconut oil, kokum, tamarind, seasonal greens, beans, pulses, vinegar, salt, spices, cashews, feni and lots of different meals The substances have been a part of Purumanth.
Fish is a vital a part of Goan’s weight loss program. For the reason that monsoon didn’t permit fishermen out to sea, drying fish (mackerel, bombil, and so forth.) for later consumption was an necessary a part of Purumanth. “Earlier than Goan seashores turned a vacationer vacation spot, individuals dried fish on the seaside,” says Miguel Braganza, who actively promotes natural agriculture. “So, earlier than the monsoon arrives, everybody will go to the markets weekly to purchase meals, together with fish, which they may course of at residence,” Braganza says. “In these weekly markets you can find fish from Anjuna, salt from Arpora, and so forth. Earlier than the seashores of Goa turned a vacationer vacation spot, individuals used to dry fish on the seaside,” says Braganza.
Goa Sausage, a extremely sought-after product, was an necessary a part of Purumentha for a lot of. Mainly, the meat could be cured with salt for 2 to 3 days, reduce into items, blended with spices and toddy vinegar. After filling within the guts, they might be smoked – hung over the chimney to dry.
Clyde D’Souza, in his guide Susegade: The Goan Artwork of Contentment, famous how, yearly “from March onwards, the yard turned a dry subject crammed with a wide range of foodstuffs – mango and jackfruit seeds, kokum and salted prawns.” He paints a vivid image of how all family members could be placed on ‘pure-month obligation’ – “the adults carried heavy a great deal of salted bandhaga and stuffing sausages, whereas the youngsters spent the afternoon shooing away the birds with slices of uncooked mango.” ”
Those that didn’t have the time or assets to arrange for Purumanthekam at residence, most popular to attend the Purumanthakem competition. These have been normally held with a church feast that attracted a whole lot of guests. Distributors from far and vast arrange stalls close to the church, promoting a wide range of Purumanth meals, containers to retailer meals objects and different important home goods.
Nevertheless, with the arrival of recent applied sciences, from fridges to packaged meals, the customized of stocking up for the monsoon season has come to an finish. Immediately, one does not have to fill up like earlier than, as most individuals have identified. Roads are extra accessible, and outlets stay open. Oswald Pinto, a former journalist of the Goa Legislative Meeting and editor of debates, expressed remorse, saying, “Though some households have retained the follow, it isn’t as crucial because it was.”
Panaji’s standard landmark, the 400-year-old Church of the Immaculate Conception, celebrates the annual Ascension of Jesus Christ 40 days after Easter, normally held in late Could. Whereas the Feast of Pentecost or Holy Spirit Church was celebrated 50 days after Easter in Margao. These two main festivals in North and South Goa respectively have been held simply earlier than monsoon and attracted a whole lot of guests. Distributors from far and vast arrange stalls across the church to draw patrons. They bought native dried fish, salted prawns, spices and pickles, together with para (spicy fish pickle), balchao (a spicy shrimp pickle) and molho (a crimson spicy and tangy sauce) along with greens, rice, salt, tamarind, and so forth. . Consumers discovered it handy to do their Purumanthe buying right here, which earned the festivals their title Purumanthekem Fest.
Though the character of the festivals has weakened over time, in line with a bit of the youthful inhabitants, these are seen as locations to obtain genuine Goan provisions. Many distributors, particularly Chonkar and Khajekar, have been taking part in these festivals for generations. They nonetheless promote completed merchandise within the conventional means, which might not be out there in common markets. A number of the standard points of interest of those festivals embrace dry salted fish, onions, chillies, kokum and a wide range of spices. Distributors promoting fried chickpeas and native sweets additionally do brisk enterprise.
Curiously, the pandemic has sparked a renewed curiosity in Purumanth’s tradition. Whereas Hautamaki believes it may be developed as a cottage trade, enterprise homes are coming ahead to put it on the market in new methods. For instance, a preferred shopping center in Goa selected to prepare a Purumanth competition as a part of its Company Social Accountability (CSR) exercise. They normally organized for conventional distributors, together with otherwise abled distributors, to arrange their stalls promoting Purumanth merchandise.