Mango Madness: The Fervor of India’s 100-Day Mango Season

published Jun 6, 2012
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

India has two primary seasons: monsoon season and mango season—the latter of which falls for about 100 days between late March and June. This King of Fruits, as the mango is known, has long been the object of much love, envy, and status, and the allure is due both to taste and uncertainty: when the season hits, things go crazy.

A recent article in The New York Times offers a glimpse into the politics of India’s mango season. People are “fiercely parochial” about mangoes, and almost every state has its own “mango jingoism.”

Beyond parochialism, mangoes also have become yet another totem for the new Indian rich to keep score. Once, the Alphonso [a variety grown along the western Konkan coast] and other varieties did not begin appearing in markets until late March or early April. Now some growers are producing mangoes in February at prices that can approach $30 a dozen, compared with $9 a dozen or less at the height of the season.

Interestingly, for decades the United states banned Indian mangoes, and it was only in 2008 when India and the United States signed a civilian nuclear agreement that the U.S. agreed to allow Indian mango imports,. (Imports are still very limited.)