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The delicious once in a year ‘Pesaha’ appam is a must for Maundy Thursday in most Keralite Christian houses
The tradition of making Pesaha Appam and Paalu on Maundy Thursday would have come from the early Jews who came to Kerala.
The light flavours of Maundy Thursday for most are unfermented steamed Indri appam, or 'Unfermented Appam', the Pesaha appam with 'paal' or coconut milk syrup.
According to the belief, in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus celebrated Passover (Last Supper) with his disciples on the day before he was crucified. After washing his disciples' feet, Jesus broke bread and gave it to his disciples and also offered a cup of wine. Thus Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist at the “Last Supper”.
The tradition of making Pesaha Appam and Paalu on Maundy Thursday would have come from the early Jews who came to Kerala. The Jewish tradition is preserved in the consumption of Pesaha pal (Passover coconut milk) instead of wine on the night of Passover along with Pesaha appam.
Lent is a period of fasting, prayers and abstinence for many Christian families. Although Easter eggs and bunnies are getting increasingly popular, many families continue the tradition of making or buying Pesaha appams. The Indri appam, made with rice flour and urad dal, was steamed, either in leaves like an ela ada or in a vessel. The Cross that believers get for Palm Sunday is pressed into the middle. In the evening, after prayers, the eldest in the family would bless the appam, cut it and serve it to the others for dinner.
The flavouring agents and the names might differ across the state, but not the solemnity of the occasion when families break bread together for Maundy Thursday, symbolising the Last Supper of Jesus Christ.