Patoleo are made for Konsachem Fest, or the Catholic harvest festival



We love the annual routine of having Patoleo commemorate the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady and India’s Independence Day!

The markets nearby are constantly teeming with bunches of turmeric leaves while at home preparations are underway to soak the red rice, grind it to apply it to the leaves, and then include the filler.

A sweet blend of jaggery, grated coconut, boiled moong dal or sugar, boiled moong dal and grated coconut!

Image source: bongong.com

Patoleo are made for Konsachem Fest, or the Roman Catholic harvest festival, which starts from the Church of Our Lady of the Snows, Raia, on the 5the August and continues throughout the month in various parish churches on separate dates.

The harvest festival on the 21stst of August through the Comunidade (community) of Taleigão de Tiswadi The taluka is traditionally extensive due to the fact that the culture dates back to 1510 when Alfonso de Albuquerque and his men were stranded and deprived of meals after an attack through Adil Shah.

The people of Taleigão fed Alfonso and his men. After Alfonso returned to Goa, he granted the villagers the privilege of being the first in the taluka to cut and bless the sheaves of new paddy.

Most surprising of all is that Patoleo has its possible origin in distant Bengal.

Patoleo is quite similar to the preparation called Bengal pitha, which is also a rice paste and coconut and coconut stuffed rice balls made in January for the seasonal rice harvest there.

I believe that migration [triggered by fear of foreign invasion in medieval India] brought it to Goa.

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The sweet dish of rice, jaggery and coconut has obviously made its way into Christian cuisine in Hindu culture.

The same patoleo, with a slight variation, are made to celebrate Nag Panchami, the worship of snakes during the Hindu month of Shravana, which begins on the 23rd.e July and the Navyachi Panchamon harvest festival which is celebrated the day after Ganesh Chaturthi (Chavath in Konkani), the auspicious day to pay homage to the Hindu god Ganesha.

Hartalika Teej Vrat is a fast undertaken by Hindu women in commemoration of Parvati’s penance to obtain Shiva as a husband.

Hartalika is the name given to Parvati by Shiva, and she was to be worshiped under this name. After the rituals, the women celebrate by eating patoleo.

Patoleo without salt are also offered to the goddess, who would have wanted them when she was pregnant.

Traditionally, Hindus and Catholics have sent the patoleo with the vojem, or trousseau, to the groom’s house. The distribution of patoleo would mark happy activities such as the birth of a child and the construction of a new house.

The turmeric leaves used to incorporate and flavor the patoleo are fragrant and have recovery abilities due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties.

The palm or sugar cane jaggery used yields a herbal sweetener with nutrients. Shredded coconut contains lauric acid which can boost HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood.

Variations of patoleo are available, with banana and jackfruit leaves replacing turmeric leaves, and additions of dal, jackfruit chunks, raisins, cashews, or pumpkin.

The simplest recipe, however, calls for a paste made from parboiled rice that is soaked and ground. The paste is used on rectangular cut turmeric leaves stuffed with choon, which is a combination of jaggery coconut, grated coconut, and cardamom. The leaves are folded and then steamed in a confr (container for steaming).

This is probably true, as patoleo can even be found among the East Indian Catholic community of Mumbai, where it is called pan mori, and patoley by Mangalorean Catholics.

In recent years, the Patoienchem Fest has also been celebrated at the Socorro in Bardez with great pomp.

The no-frills festival aims to merge various aspects of Goan culture to awaken a sense of pride that will motivate our younger generation to work towards preserving it.


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