“Athithi Devo Bhava” is a Sanskrit phrase, meaning “become the one who treats one’s guests as the God”, which recommends us to treat our guests like God. Hence it is a custom followed by Hindus that the food is offered to deities and also to guests on the sacred banana leaf. We still follow this unique tradition of thalai vazhai virundhu especially in South India during religious festivals at home and also in wedding banquets.
Thalai Vazhai Virundhu – Slideshow:
Although it is a fun & enjoyable experience to use banana leaf as a platter, there are significant benefits of taking food on a banana leaf as listed below:
Benefits of taking food on banana leaf
Banana leaves contain large amount of antioxidants called polyphenols that are found in tea leaves (green tea) also. These antioxidants not only help to fight free radicals but also aid to have anti-aging effects on our skin, thus banana leaves extracts are commercially used for the production of anti-wrinkle products. When the hot food is served on banana leaf, the food absorbs the polyphenols and hence it is regarded as one of the effective ways of ingesting anti-oxidants.
When hot food is placed on banana leaf, the wax on the surface melts and lends beautiful aroma to the food which in turn aids in stimulating our appetite.
Banana leaves are particularly beneficial to serve food for a large gathering as there is no need to keep a stock of huge number of plates that need to be washed and stacked after every use. Banana leaf is also useful for sumptuous repasts as it is convenient to serve variety of foods over the large leaf than the plate.
Banana leaves are naturally clean, dirt-free and germs-free, so it is not required to use any detergent to clean these leaves, generally we just wipe this leaf with a handful of water before food is served.
Banana leaves are used to pack/ serve food and they can be disposed off safely by re-using them as cattle feed. Hence these leaves can be very well considered as the best alternatives for plastic wraps/ paper plates.