There are some typical things in Mithila that makes it famous in India and abroad .Where ever the people of Mithila live ,they increase the honor of Mithila with their rites , talent , language , costume and ethics.
Offering betel is a symbol of respect in Mithila .The betel of Darbhanga holds a special place in the pan market of Kolkata.Over the years , the farming of pan in Mithila has drastically reduced.The people of Chaurasia community of Mithila cultivate the betel . Any auspicious event is not completed without a pan in Mithila .It is also used in marriage rituals and the festival like Bhaiya Dooj. Welcoming of the guest is done with a Paan in this region.
Makhana (Fox nut)
Makhana or the fox nut is popular due to the substantial water reserves in the Mithila region.Its popularity is also attached to the social and religious reasons .Since couple of years the demand for Makhana has increased in India and abroad.This snack food is a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
The famous poet of Maithili and Hindi Acharya Somedev has described Mithila in this way – “ Pag-Pag Pokhar Manchh Makhaan ,Saras Madhur Muski Mukh Pan ” which means “A Place Where you find fishes , Makhana and ponds at every step and Where smiling Paan chewing faces greets you is what Mithila Known for ”.
Fish finds a cultural significance in Mithila.It is considered auspicious seeing fish at the time of starting a journey. It is also shown an importance in the Mithila Paintings.Majority of people in Mithila like to have fish with rice.There are some typical fish varieties that is found in Mithila named – Buaari , Naini , Katli , Bhaakur , Rohu , Kabai , Pothia , Singhi , Mangur , Gainchi , Jhinga and Mara.
Food connoisseur’s find great differences between the fishes of Mithila and the fishes that are imported from other states like Andhra Pradesh to Mithila. Now , the state government of Bihar is also planning seriously on patronizing local fisheries.Bihar is trying to increase the fish production ,aiming , to export the fishes from the region after some years .
Due to the different religious causes , the tradition of digging of a pond in Mithila got very popular.People used these ponds for rituals and later on opened it for the society .It was also linked to the livelihood , where ponds were used for commercial production of Fishes and Makhana They also found Doka (a kind of snail) and Situa in the pond which acted as a food source .
Paag (the traditional cap)
There is a special significance of Paag in Mithila .It is a cultural symbol of the region..A couple of decades ago the use of Paag was common in Brahman and Karn Kayastha but with the changing times it is fastly losing importance .However , still , at marriages the bridegroom often wears a Paag.
Who can wear what kind of Paag is also pre-defined.At the thread ceremony ie ‘Yagyopaveet’ the boy has to wear a red Paag while the white colored Paag is worn by guests and dignitaries.In the ancient picture’s of people’s poet Vidyapati , the Paag sits enthroned on his head.There is also a misconception that Paag is limited to some castes only.It is in fact for any person who loves the tradition and heritage of Mithila.