Aati is the 4th month in Tulu calendar which falls during July/August. Aati is preceded by Kaartel month and followed by Sona month. The practices associated with this month of the Tulu calendar are linked to the agrarian practices and climate of the coastal region.
It is a time for farmers to take rest because of heavy monsoon in this month. Due to heavy flooding and accumulation of water, there are higher chances of getting diseases and mobility through the villages is limited due to water flooding.
For many, especially Hindus in Tulu Nadu, this is a “forbidden” month. Hence there are no marriages, house warming ceremonies, festivals in temples, purchasing of property or vehicles, no purchase of gold, and any auspicious functions.
Chennemane is a popular game played in this time. It is an interesting indoor game which helps family members to bond with each other while also helping grow their intellect.
On Amavasya day of this month, Tuluvas have a tradition of drinking a medicinal concoction called Paleda Kashaya. It is said that once a year, before consuming any food in the morning (before sunrise), at least a small portion of the Kashaya should be drunk to stay healthy from any type of stomach problems. After drinking Pale Kashaya on Amavasya day, the family members are served with Metteda Ganji (in Tulu) or Menthe Ganji (in Kannada) which is a simple and nutritious recipe prepared out of rice, methi seeds (fenugreek) and jaggery.
Another tradition followed in Tulunadu region in this month is Aati Kalenja. It is a traditional way of dealing with nature, to protect humans by bringing in the spirit of Kalenja to the earth. It is a dance procedure that includes going from door to door, sprinkling a mixture of water with charcoal, turmeric, and Tamarind powder. This is done to ward off any misfortune that might have befallen on the family and the cattle by spreading positive energy.
Married women were sent to their mother’s homes for one month for taking rest – called Aati kulare Popini in Tulu. The objective behind this was that a married woman who used to work throughout the year in her husband’s home doing both household work and agriculture needed rest. Now this practice has become outdated.
It is also a month when people serve offerings to their ancestors and remember them.
Foods during Aati month
Since Aati month receives heavy downpour, people cannot venture out of their homes. As a result, they consume food prepared from the green stocks available locally in the vicinity of their houses. They are really healthy for the season too. Ambate (hog plums), kanile (bamboo shoot), paagile (wild bitter gourd), thajank, thimare (both wild greens), wild jackfruit, drumstick leaves and colocasia leaves are some of the locally available greens & vegetables that grow in the season.
See this recipe of Arepuda Adye made from colocasia leaves.