Paan : Mithila’s Paan (Betel Leaves )Culture

Mithila Paan

Paan : In Mithila culture, Betel Leaf   are required for every good deed. Janakpurdham is famous for fish, betel and butter. The people of Mithilanchal have included betel leaf in their list of essential items of life. Guests and friends who come here are asked for tea and beers. In the scriptures, betel is considered pure and holy and is also offered to the deity.

It has gained more importance in Mithilanchal as it is mandatory in worship, festivals and banquets. In Bhardutiya festival, it is customary to place Paan  in the hands of a brother and worship him. There is also a custom of giving betel leaves to the bride and groom as love. It is believed that this will increase mutual love. Pan is considered very sacred in Mithila region.

Paan -Notes Nepal
Mithila Paan

In this region, betel leaves are required for every puja-pratishta, yajna-ritual, fast, festival, auspicious ritual and deity-father work etc. In the same way, from the worship of the home deity to the worship of Satyanarayana, Chauthchandra, Chhath festival, Ravishani festival, ‘Arghya’ is offered as ‘Phulpan’, in which it is customary to give ‘Arghya’ with betel leaves, flowers and fruits, mostly bananas.

In addition, betel leaves are also used for food in this region. It is said that Paan has medicinal uses in some cases. It is often eaten with lime, katha, betel nut, etc. after meals.

On the full moon day of Kojagrat, the well-known date of Mithila region, it is customary to eat sweets, butter and Paan . In addition to this, betel nut is also fed on the occasion of banquets which are often organized in this region. When eating betel in this way, many kinds of spices, yolks, fragrant items etc. are also mixed in it.

Paan leaves have religious as well as cultural significance. When describing the beauty of a virgin, her thin lips are praised as ‘thin lips like leaves’. In Vatsyayan’s Kama Sutra, the reference to eating betel is considered as one of the 16 adornments. It also mentions that in ancient times only women ate Pan.

Dhanwantari, who is considered as the father of Ayurvedic medicine, has said that betel leaves have 105 properties. According to him, after eating, betel is not only acidic but also helps in digestion. Paan  are considered good for colds, flu and anemia. In Ayurveda, the properties of betel are said to be blood-enhancing, expectorant, tonic and palatable.

Paan multipurpose wavy plant

Paan -Notes Nepal
Mithila Paan Culture

Betel is a versatile wavy plant. There is a tradition of eating Paan in Nepal, India and Southeast Asia. It is customary to add lime, catechu, betel nut pieces, fennel and various other spices to the betel leaf. According to the information received, 64 species of betel leaves are found in India till now.

The major varieties are Deshi, Kali, Ritech etc. in Maharashtra, Sanchi, Mithu (sweet leaf), Jahaji and Bangla Pan in Assam and West Bengal and Deshi Deshavari, Kapuri, Madhahi, Vanarasi, Calcutta in Bangladesh. Among the varieties produced so far in Nepal are Desi, Bangla, Sanchari and Mithapatta Pan.

There is no denying the fact that betel cultivation can be a long-term source of income for small farmers who have little land in a climate with suitable climate.

According to agriculture expert Rameshwar Mahato, betel has been cultivated in the eastern districts of the Terai for the past two decades. In Nepal too, betel cultivation has been started on a commercial level as a trial in Shanishchhare, Morang’s Letang, Madhumalla, Sunsari’s Panchakanya and Sreepur and Saptari districts. Paan

Due to the prominence of betel leaf in Maithil culture, it is discussed in many folk songs. The sister sings this song for her brother in the song of Samachakeva, the symbol of immortal love of brothers and sisters.

पनमा जे खएला हो भैंया पिकीया नेडौला अहीठाम
तहि पिकिये हो भैया जङ्गा–जमुना अएलइ बाढि

Similarly, in Sohar Geet, the heroine says to her beloved after getting pregnant

ढोलिएक पान देलनि किछु नहि देलनि  

Pan is also discussed in an erotic folk song as follows:

हँसी–हँसी पनमा खियौले बइमनमा
कि अपने वसे रे परदेश
गोरी रे चुनरियामे दगिया लगाइ गेले
मारिके करेजबामे ठेस


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