Holi, the festival of colour, sweets and Bhang
A foody insight to the Festival of Color, 'Holi'
India, a country with the second largest population, where there are nine recognised religions, in which 37 different festivals are celebrated every year. 'Holi' is a festival where people play with color, binge on sweets and most importantly get hammered on some sweet government-regulated bhang, to commemorate the victory of good over evil and thanksgiving for a good harvest in the spring season.
People with a sweet tooth wait all year long for Holi so they can gulp down kilos of festival specific sweets like Gheear, also known as the big fat Sindhi jalebi. In layman terms, this is fennel cake which is battered, fried in purified butter, and dipped in sugar syrup.
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At Holi celebrations, you'll also find Gujiya, a fried puff pastry which is stuffed differently in every state of the country. In the north they use more dried fruits, and mostly sweet shredded coconut down south.
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To wash all the sweetness down, a cold spiced milk-based drink is made in every household called Thandai, which consists of almonds, fennel seeds, rose petals, cardamom and a lot more ingredients mixed in cold milk.
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All about the bhang
Coming to the most sought after drink during Holi, which is known as bhang. Bhang starts its journey from the leaves and flowers of a female cannabis plant, which is dried, shredded, soaked in water, forming a clay-like substance which is then kneaded into small balls. These balls are later added to milk or water for consumption.
Also in a few states, they go ahead and mix bhang with purified butter and sugar to make pocket-sized candies called 'halwa golee'.
Bhang or Cannabis-infused Thandai is a healthier option to alcohol. It is also known to have aphrodisiac traits as well as helping people to concentrate. Although cannabis is illegal in India, bhang somehow manages to escape as it's been around for thousands of years, apparently from the time of the Gods, according to some Hindu mythological books.
a government-approved bhang shop
Although Holi is celebrated all over the world, even in non-Hindu communities, it is best enjoyed at its epicentre which is in India, where you can get down and dirty with colors and overdose on Holi desserts. Or just laze around after a glass of bhang with your family and friends.