It is customary for Indian households to offer Gift to visitors.
Mandatory are the Kumkum(Vermillion) and Thamboola.
The Kumkum is a sign of wealth and prosperity and it represents Goddess Mahaslakshmi, called as Sri.
The significance of offering Kumkum is the wishes of the house holder that the visitor may be blessed with Prosperity.
Thamboola has three elements.
Coconut signifies the Blessings of the Trimurthis, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, represented as the three marks in the Coconut.
The areca nut iss attributed to Brahma, the Tambool (betel) leaf to Vishnu and lime to Mahesh.i
Lime is offered along with these in Hindu marriages after Food.
At the practical level, this mixture, when taken after food is good for digestion.
The Legend of Thamboola.
Mohini distributed Amrut (ambrosia) amongst various gods. The urn with the remaining of the Amrut was kept near Indra’s elephant « Nagraja ». Growing inside the urn was a strange creeping plant and the gods became ecstatic. Vishnu ordered Dhanvantari to examine the plant. He thus discovered its stimulating quality. From then on, Vishnu began to offer its leaves, as a gesture of love and affection. Since, it is said , that the betel trine was born. It began to be associated with the Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh Trinity. The areca nut was attributed to Brahma, the Tambool (betel) leaf to Vishnu and lime to Mahesh.
According to another legend, after the Pandavas’ victory at Hastinapur, they began to have a fervent desire for Tambool. A messenger was urgently sent to the underground abode of the Queen of the snakes. The Queen, only too happy to oblige, cut the extreme phalange of her little finger and sent it to the Pandavas. The phalange was planted with great ceremony and soon the Betel plant grew out of the phalange. The creeper is since then referred to as « Nagveli » the snake plant. The ceremony of the leaves commemorates this origin and the Barais offer prayers to the God of snakes on the occasion.
Once all dev gans (Devtas, Gods) assembled on Earth at a place called ‘Naumi Sharayan’ to perform some auspicious ceremony, and while they were approaching back to ‘Bakunthya Dham’ (Heaven) they all started feeling thirsty due to extreme heat on earth when a particular community came forward and quenched their thirst by serving them Beatle leaves .Impressed by their hospitality, the Devtas not only blessed them but also honoured them by gifting the title chaturashiitah i.e. ‘CHAURASIA’ . According to the Baudhâyanas’rauta-sûtra CHAURASIA’s belong to Kashyapa, Some believe that they belong to [Bharadvâja],So there are many beliefs about Gotras .
In recent days people of this community are employed in a variety of occupations (some also refers themselves as ‘Vaishya’ i.e. traders,since becoming followers of Vallabhacharya ji, adopting Vaishanavism nearly 300 years ago.) and their religious traditions and culture are becoming less of a factor in daily life.
Details of Chaurasia Brahmins follows.