I’ve grown up with coconut. It’s a pivotal part of Hindu religious ceremonies and I have a few of those coming up over the next few weeks.
Coconut is the most common offerings in temples. It has always been the first offering to Hindu Gods for all the important occasions in my life. My birth ceremony, my first day at university, my first car, my engagement, my wedding day, the first day in my new flat, the day we completed on this house, my pregnancy ceremony, the birth ceremonies of my two daughters, the day they both started school and so many more.
I’ve researched the significance of this and it’s quite symbolic. The fibrous outer layer is taken off except for a tuft on the top. This symbolises the head of a human being. The coconut is then broken, symbolising breaking of the human ego. Then finally the juice (representing our inner tendencies) alongside the white flesh (representing the mind) is offered to God. So a human mind and soul purified is used as ‘prasaad’ – a holy gift – back to the person.
When I was little I used to dread eating prasaad because it was so dry. I still think it’s an acquired taste because my girls complain the same way I used to when we go to temple – whereas their Mummy is the first in line now! It’s so healthy too. I eat it every day in some form – dessicated on cereal, the milk or creamed variety in curries, toasted flakes sprinkled over bananas, freshly grated into chutneys…the list is endless. My Coconut and Blueberry Tart uses a few different guises of coconut. Hopefully it will go down well with my cousins over the next few weeks as a my ‘gift’ to them on their special days.