Thursday, December 9, 2021

Rice culture: Where did it start, how did it spread around the world?

Rice culture: Where did it start, how did it spread around the world?


Rice in the morning, rice in the evening. How old is the history of rice made from rice and rice made from rice? Or how long has it been since Nepalis started satisfying their hunger with this rice? Most of the food of Nepalis is not possible without rice. Not only food but also our religious activities need rice. Is rice given so much importance only in Nepal? How did it originate and spread?


Looking at the production of paddy cultivation in Nepal, a favorable environment can be seen from the Terai to the Himalayan district of Jumla. Temperature plays a major role in paddy cultivation. The atmospheric temperature of 21-37 C is suitable for planting paddy. The temperature of 20-25 deg C. If suitable, the temperature during flowering should be 26.5-29.5 C. In addition, the longer the day, the higher the production (Crop Cultivation Technology Handbook-2074).



According to the data of paddy produced worldwide in 2018, the world consumes more than 760 million tons of rice annually. Of the 120 countries producing rice in the world, China has the highest production (146.8 million metric tons in 2019-20). India is the second-largest producer of paddy. According to the data of 2019-20, India produced 118.8 million metric tons of paddy annually (Statista.com).


The history of paddy production in India can be traced back to the Vedic period. The Yajurveda mentions five species of rice. Among them, rice produced in summer is called 'Shashtika', rice produced in the rainy season is called 'Varshika' or 'Vrihi', rice produced in autumn is called 'Sharad' and rice produced in the early season is called 'Himatanka' or 'Shali' (Food and Drinks). Of Ancient India - Dr. Omprakash (1961).


There is a lot of evidence about the production of paddy in the post-Vedic literature and also in the memoirs. Sushruta mentions a dish called 'Vishyandaka' in 'Sushruta Samhita'. This dish is made by frying rice in ghee. Apart from this, the kheer we prepare is also mentioned in various Vedic literature. Similarly, there is another dish called 'Utraika', which is a dish made from rice. Apart from this, 'Pupalika' is another food item made from rice. Which was prepared by baking in the shape of a cake to be prepared today.


The Charak Samhita also discusses rice flour in the preparation of aphrodisiacs. It is mentioned in the Charak Samhita that if a crocodile egg is put in rice flour and cooked in ghee, sexual arousal increases.


History of rice

There is a long history of feeding wild grass in Bakari. How much time is spent in the existence of wild grass may be the subject of research? But the history is very long after people started filling in the blanks.


Archaeologists estimate that rice production in China began between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago. This is also mentioned in the book "History of Rice in China" written by Zheng Chongsheng on the history of rice in China. From 770 BC to 476 BC, rice became the main grain of China (The History of Rice in China - Zheng Chongsheng).


Another school of thought believes that the rice plant may have originated in southern India. It then spread to the north of the country and then reached Korea via China, reaching the present Philippines in 2000 BC and extending to Japan and Indonesia around 1000 BC.


However, archaeological evidence shows that for the first time in Asia, rice production began on the banks of the Yangtze River in China. According to a morphological study of a branch of biology, evidence of rice produced in the Dietunguhan cave area has been found. According to the evidence there, the scientific evidence shows that the consumption of paddy started 12,000 years ago.


Until the Vedic period, wheat was the staple grain of India. Then rice replaced wheat. Rice consumption was high in Asia. Alexander, who set out to conquer the world around them 4th century BC, is said to have imported rice from India to the west. At that time, rice was called 'Origin'. After the time of Alexander, rice production started in present-day countries including Egypt and Spain.


Although the production of African rice began 3500 years ago, countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands, along with their colonies, increased the consumption of rice dishes in Africa. After that, the rice culture seems to have reached America.


The unique culture associated with rice


Interesting stories related to rice are found in different countries of the world. There is an interesting legend about rice in China. For example, it is believed that the more rice girls put on their plates, the more dandruff appears on their husband's faces. Maybe it's a legend designed to save grain.


In Japan, it is believed that soaking rice before cooking produces positive energy from the dish, which helps to make the food more powerful. In Indonesia, it is not easy for a daughter-in-law who does not know how to cook rice well to go home. That's the decent thing to do, and it should end there. Thus, the importance of rice in the culture of different countries is different.

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