Mohan and I celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday.
Traditionally, payaasam and vadai is made for special events such as these. We offer some food to our deities before consuming them. This is called Naivedhyam. In any auspicious menu ‘Vadai payaasam’ is included.
Payaasam is made up of cooked rice as rice is the staple diet of India and boiled milk with sugar. Offering something sweet to God.
Vadai is a savoury dish and a traditional South Indian food known from antiquity. There are two types of vadai – Paruppu vadai made from chana dal (split de-husked black chickpeas), and Ulundu vadai made from urad dhal (de-husked black lentils.) Sliced green chillies, curry leaves and onion are also mixed into the batter, and ulundu vadai batter contains rice in addition to these. These are fried in hot oil like doughnuts. While paruppu vadai is circular and slightly flat, ulundu vadai is wheel-shaped with a hole in the middle. Ulundu vadai is bland and usually enjoyed with chutney or sambar.
They are more than 2 types of vadai. The above mentioned are mostly used for auspicious functions.
Naivedhyam (or Naivedhya) (Sanskrit: नैवेध्य) a Sanskrit word meaning supplication, is food offered to a Hindu deity as part of a worship ritual, before eating it. As such, tasting during preparation or eating the food before offering it to God is forbidden.
The food is placed before a deity and prayers are offered. Then the food is consumed as a holy offering. The offerings may include cooked food, Sweet meats, and fruits. Only, vegetarian food is offered to the deity and later distributed to the devotees who are present. Non-Vegetarian is strictly prohibited.
Great care is taken when food is cooked for the deity. Many orthodox Hindus offer cooked food or some fruits to a picture or idol of a deity before they eat it.
Naivedhyam is not necessarily a food offering to God and actually means ‘offering to God’ in the stricter sense of the words. It could be any offering, tangible or intangible. A resolution, a promise or even a willingness to do, perform or restrict from certain things can also be connoted as offering to God.
God, prayers and wishes are more a belief and hence an offering to God is an extension of this belief. However, one needs to differentiate Naivedhyam from ‘Prasaatham’. Prasaatham is actually what one get from the God. The meaning of these words is usually attributed to food as we invariably offer to and receive from the house of Gods in the form of eatables. – Wikipedia
Here’s a fun song about the vadai.