By Keya Dutta
1. Auspicious: In Assam, betel nut are traditionally offered as a mark of respect and auspicious beginnings. It is a tradition to offer pan-tamul (betel leaves and raw areca nut) to guests, after tea or meals, served in a brass plate with stands called bota. Among the Assamese, the areca nut also has a variety of uses during religious and marriage ceremonies, where it has the role of a fertility symbol.
2. Invitation : A tradition from Upper Assam is to invite guests to wedding receptions by offering a few areca nuts with betel leaves. During Bihu, the husori players are offered areca nuts and betel leaves by each household while their blessings are solicited.
3. Refreshment: A customary Paan-Tamul (Betel nut leaf- Betel nut) is offered to guests after the end of every Bhoj[feast]. This is usually the Saadaa-Paan-Tamul-Soon (Slacked lime) with cardamom pods in it to freshen the breath.
3. Play with areca nut leaf: Children in most of the villages Assam, play with areca nut leaf. It’s been existed in India since Medieval time till now and many people of my age group to old age can passionatelyrelate to this unsophisticated, unwheeled zigzag, pulling car of which is a blessing of mother nature.
5. Peek(Colourful spitting):
It’s little disgusting to step on or watching over the views of every walls on streets of Assam “famous spewing the gross ‘Peek’ (liquid residue) after chewing Paan (Betel Leaf and nut)”
Worryingly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists each ingredient, with the exception of cardamom and cinnamon, as a known carcinogen – or cancer-causing agent.
The slaked lime is seen as a particular problem as it causes hundreds of tiny abrasions to form in the mouth. This is thought to be a possible entry point for many of the cancer-causing chemicals.