Holi & Food Festivity


Holi is one of the most popular festivals in India and is known as the festival of colours. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour all over the country, with people of all ages and backgrounds coming together to enjoy the festivities. One of the most important aspects of Holi is the food that is prepared and shared during the celebrations. In this blog post, we will explore the traditional Holi food and how it has changed over time.

Traditional Holi Food

The traditional Holi food varies from region to region in India, but some common dishes are prepared during the festival. One of the most popular Holi dishes is Gujiya, a sweet dumpling filled with khoya, dry fruits, and coconut. A popular holi drink is Thandai, a cold drink made with milk, almonds, saffron, and spices. Both Gujiya and Thandai are considered traditional Holi delicacies and are often prepared in large quantities during the festival.

In addition to these sweet dishes, many savoury snacks are also prepared during Holi. Some of the most popular ones include Namak Pare, Mathri, and Papdi Chaat. Namak Pare is crispy, salty crackers made with flour and spices. Mathri is a deep-fried snack made with flour and spices, and Papdi Chaat is a popular street food that consists of crispy fried dough wafers, boiled potatoes, chickpeas, and spices. Dahi vadas are also a very popular item served on Holi.

Changes in Holi Food

Over time, traditional Holi food has undergone several changes, reflecting people's changing tastes and preferences. For example, while Gujiya and Thandai remain popular, many people have started experimenting with new flavours and ingredients. Today, you can find Gujiya filled with chocolate, fruits, and even savoury ingredients like cheese and mushrooms. Similarly, Thandai is now available in different flavours like strawberry, mango, and rose.

In addition to this, people have started incorporating healthier options in their Holi food. Many people now prefer baked or air-fried snacks instead of deep-fried ones. They are also using alternative flours like quinoa, buckwheat, and chickpea flour to make traditional Holi dishes healthier.

Holi food is an important part of the festival, and it has evolved over time to reflect changing tastes and preferences. While traditional dishes like Gujiya, Thandai, Namak Pare, Mathri, and Papdi Chaat remain popular, people are experimenting with new flavours and ingredients. They are also incorporating healthier options to make Holi food more nutritious. Whether traditional or modern, Holi food is a symbol of joy and togetherness and is enjoyed by people of all ages during the festival.

Apart from the changes in ingredients and flavours, the way Holi food is prepared and shared has also undergone significant changes over the years. With the rise of social media and online platforms, people now have access to a wide range of Holi food recipes and ideas from all over the world. This has resulted in a fusion of traditional and modern recipes, creating a unique and exciting culinary experience during the festival.

Moreover, the pandemic has also impacted the way people celebrate Holi and the food they prepare. With the emphasis on social distancing and hygiene, many people are opting for homemade food and smaller gatherings with family and close friends. This has led to an increased focus on healthy and nutritious food options that can be easily prepared at home.

In conclusion, food is an integral part of Holi celebrations and has evolved over time to reflect changing tastes and preferences. While traditional dishes continue to be popular, people are experimenting with new flavours, ingredients, and healthier options. With the rise of social media and online platforms, Holi food has become a fusion of traditional and modern recipes, creating a unique culinary experience. The pandemic has also impacted the way people celebrate Holi, emphasizing the importance of hygiene and healthy food options. Ultimately, Holi food celebrates togetherness and joy, bringing people closer and creating lasting memories.

My Kitchen Story

I have passed my age of experimentation, I guess. Now, I love all the traditional foods which have memories of my mom and the traditions followed in my marital home. Let me start with the sweets. I have a strong sweet tooth.:) Gunjhiya - a fried pastry filled with a sweet filling of khoya and the choicest dry fruits. In the first 20 years of my married life, I used to make gunjhiyas and other pakwans like namak-paare, gud-paare, moong daal kachories at home. Yes, this was what I can call my Holi -festive food. The kitchen comes into full bloom almost a week before the festival. I was working with a school at those times. The boys were young and I wanted to give them the purest stuff. Moreover in those days, helping hands were not available for cooking and now, when I think about the volume of work I used to do in those days, I  am amazed at myself. I feel like patting my back. 

The lunch is always, as they called it then - "the pakka-khaana." It is always poori-kachori with aloo-tamatar, mitha kaddu, dry arbi, cauliflower-alu-matar, dahi-bada-chaat-papri-chaat, dum aloo, green chutney, imli chutney etc. Most of the years, it is this complete platter. But as boys flowen away, the platter is reduced or I would say, simplified in accordance with our reduced diet.

This year, it is meetha kaddu, aloo-tamatar, dahi-vade, both chutneys and gunjhiya and kanji as drink. The only difference between festive aloo-tamatar and routine aloo-tamatar is the festive sabzi has the tempering of saunf or methi or both. No jeera (cumin seeds tadka) Even meetha kaddu (pumpkin) has saunf-methi tadka. 

Thandai is made to be a popular drink on Holi, but I like kanji and not thandai as I do not like any milk-based drink. 

So, this is all about my Holi feasting. What about yours? Please do share in the comments. 

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