Assamese Culture and ‘Tamul Paan’

Upasana Gohain

Tamul-Paan, a highly honorary and significant combination in Assamese society. When we pair the words Tamul and Paan together, we translate them as Areca Nut and Betel Leaves in English.

Mostly, Areca nut which is dried and made into Supari is considered to be hazardous to health in almost every society except the Assamese. Because here it is considered to be something which holds great significance in its culture.

Well, it’s very obvious that ‘Tamul Paan’ is eaten here in Assam too. But again, it has some unique techniques of even eating it. Traditionally, in Assam people eat ‘Tamul Paan’ mixed with a bit of lime which is commonly called ‘chun’ and tobacco, commonly called ‘sadha’.

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But the question that arises here is why is this ‘Tamul Paan’ so important in Assamese society?

Well, it’s because ‘Tamul Paan’ is so much more than just a chewing pouch. This combo can also be considered as the cultural identity of the Assamese people.

Cultural Significance of ‘Tamul Paan’

‘Tamul Paan’ is always related to the rituals and traditional values of the Assamese people. 

How can one forget the use of ‘Tamul Paan’ in the auspicious marriage ceremonies! If you are an Assamese, you will know it for sure.

If we try to know for how long is this combination been in use in matrimonial rituals, we won’t be able to find an answer probably, as the use of ‘Tamul Paan’ is there since the existence of the Assamese community.

Although, nowadays Assamese people have adopted the trend of sharing invitation cards whenever a marriage is held, ‘Tamul Paan’ as the main component in invitation still holds the highest significance. 

It is often believed in Assam that if a guest visits an Assamese house, he/she will be served with ‘Tamul Paan’ beautifully presented in a ‘Horai’ or ‘Bota’ which signifies that the guest is being treated with much respect.

Visiting religious places like Temples and Namghars is considered impossible if there is no ‘Tamul Paan’ with the visitors. It is also often considered a bad sign if we pray without offering ‘Tamul Paan’ to the gods.

Not only limited to these but all other auspicious occasion is fulfilled with this unique combination of ‘Tamul Paan’.

The Assamese society holds very rich culture and traditions which they carry with utmost pride and ‘Tamul Paan’ is one of that significant component that Assamese people can never part away from as long as they exist.

Graphic Designs: Saurav Baruah

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