Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Holi hai !

[Standing : Rajesh, Tanu, Girish]
: Deepa, Sudha, Trupti, Prantik, Shishir, Parag & Ashok]

Holi, the exuberant festival of color. Holi falls on the full moon of the month of Phalgun. The Hindu calendar uses lunar months, and Phalgun typically runs from the latter half of February through the first half of March. The crops have been harvested, so farmers have more free time and some money to celebrate the end of winter. With Holi, this celebration is an ecstatic burst of color. In the past, the color came from flowers that blossom only during the festival. Now, however, the powder is often created artificially.

On the eve of Holi, bonfires burn at many street corners.

On Holi, the mood is festive, with a nervous edge that accompanies impending chaos. People roam the streets with hands full of gulal [color powder] and pichkaris [spray pistols] containing colored water. When they meet, a colorful cloud of activity ensues. All emerge a rainbow of color.

Typically, this day is associated with Bhang and Puran Polis as the main recipies.
Bhang is meant to be an offering for Lord Shiva. Bhang Ki Thandai is a drink popular in many parts of North India which is made by mixing bhang with Thandai, a drink prepared with a mixture of almonds, certain spices, milk and sugar. Cultivation of cannabis is illegal in many parts of the country, but bhang is widely available.

Puran poli is a traditional sweet prepared in Maharashtra, by stuffing a chapati with a sweet preparation. The chapati is made of wheat or maida flour. The sweet stuffing is made of either chana daal, grated coconut and sugar or grated coconut and powdered white sugar. In the latter case, the chapati will be stiffer and crunchier, while in the former, it will softer.

Wishing you all a happy and colorful Holi !!!

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