Our ancestors have left us with a trove of traditional practises that became an integral part of the Indian culture and were also considered healthy. However, somewhere we have forgotten these ancient practises that have a reason backing them. One of these practises includes sprinkling water in a circular fashion around their plate or banana leaf thrice. This practise is still prevalent in most parts of southern and northern India. While the common belief is that it is a method of seeking blessings from the deities. But, is this the only reason or is there any other significance of sprinkling water around the plate?
Sprinkling water around food is believed to indicate an ‘offering to god and thanking him for blessing us with food to eat.’ In fact, some people keep some part of the food aside as an offering to the gods, who govern the elements of nature before starting the meal. This practise is known as chitrahuti. This may have been an age-old custom, but many people in the Brahmin community still abide by it.
Sprinkling water around food is believed to indicate an ‘offering to god’
This ancient practise is believed to have started by sages in olden times, who spent most of their lives living in forest areas or in raw houses, where the floors weren’t concrete on which they sat and ate food. Moreover, the food was mostly served on banana plantains. The food was prone to be exposed to the muddy floor making it unhealthy; which is why water was sprinkled around the plates to settle the mud or dust particles down. Dirt contains bacteria that may contribute to allergic reactions and other health problems.
Another reason may be that sprinkling water was also a great way to keep insects and pests at bay, especially at night when there is barely any light. It is said that ants or any insect cannot cross or tread upon water.
This ancient practise is believed to have started by sages in olden times
Some believe that Indian food contains a lot of spicy or acidic content. Thus, sprinkling small quantity of water on and around food could help act as a neutraliser.
Other theory is that south Indian food contains a lot of rice and starch content. Therefore, sprinkling water could dilute the starch content and make it easier to digest.
The practise may have lost its meaning considering there are lesser raw houses and most of us have been living in a concrete jungle. However, some may like to follow this tradition set by our ancestors; therefore, the next time you see someone sprinkling water around the plate or on the food, you would pretty well know why!