Aadi Perukku, the festival that celebrates and ushers in the planting season in Tamil Nadu was celebrated at Isha Home School on August 3rd in true traditional spirit.
The Middle Schoolers marked the event by creating their own Mulaipari from the nutrient-rich soil Amrit Mitti that they prepared last term. Mulaipari refers to the traditional earthen pot filled with sprouts of nine different grains called the Navadhanyam.The variety of seeds used by the students included jowar, bajra, sunflower, fenugreek, ragi, and green gram, among others. Each student went about the task of taking the sprouted plants from the prepared soil, so that each had a small dense bush growing in their clay pot.
The festivities started with impromptu sessions of traditional song and dance, which accompanied the procession to the nearby Bhikshu stream. Sivakumar Anna set up the event by sharing about the significance of the Aadi Perukku celebrations. It was an eye-opener for many that the simple but essential requirement of conducting a germination test for that season’s crop had been woven into the cultural fabric as a celebration. Afterwards the students submerged their Mulaipari in the stream, which is traditionally seen as a tribute to water's life-sustaining properties.
The cookout luncheon on Aadi Perukku day was preceded by the children pitching in and harvesting the vegetables grown as part of the Middle School agriculture activities. The abundant harvest included 23 kgs of ash gourd, 14 kgs of spinach, 5 kgs coriander, 2 kgs of pumpkin and small amounts of bush and cluster beans, which were cooked into a sumptuous meal by the students and teachers. This bountiful Middle School cookout also allowed an opportunity to acknowledge the silent background contribution of many individuals from the school and ashram who contribute towards the smooth functioning of IHS, by inviting them to join in the celebration.
This year’s Aadi Perukku celebration set a milestone in the progress made in the Middle School agriculture activities,which are now a regular part of the curriculum. From its humble beginnings a year and a half ago as a small garden to grow leafy vegetables, today it has been transformed into a multi-dimensional approach that encompasses various important aspects of the Home School educational method.