The arrival of autumn in the Indian calendar, i.e. the traditional calendar, begins the season of festivals and celebrations, which continues almost continuously till Uttarayan (mid-January according to the English calendar). After Durga Puja, Vijayadashami, small and big Diwali, Govardhan Puja, there is a little gap but this too is completed by the big day and English New Year. In villages, towns and cities, everyone does something to change the taste during festivals, so that the monotony of food is broken and an atmosphere of joy can be created. It is customary to prepare dishes and sweets on such occasions.
Dish, that is, deep-fried food that can last for a long time, and can be eaten together. Sweets, that is sweets. Till two generations ago, every festival had its own dishes. Sweets like Pua, Rot, Shakkar Pare, Kheer and Halwa, Laddu and Balushahi were popular. Over the last few years, the flavors of festivals have started changing. On the occasion of Diwali, chocolates, chips, bhujia and fruit juices take up all the space in the dalia that is exchanged with friends and relatives. Some fruits and nuts are visible in the remaining space. Overall, the emphasis is on decoration, less on flavours.
It is a matter of satisfaction that the new generation is very much fed up with this new trend. She has started taking interest in exploring her roots. For this reason, some food business establishments have also started returning to the forgotten flavors of festivals. Just like the round imported chocolates, a variety of laddus, arranged in small bowls of almost transparent paper, have suddenly started appearing – made of black and white sesame, of fenugreek and gum and of dry fruits or nuts. Gujiya, which was once eaten only during Holi, is now available on all year round festivals. Namak Pare, Nimki and Shakkar Pare seem to replace the chips for a few days. In winter, hot decoction, saffron cardamom spiced milk or spicy strong tea is more soothing than fruit juice or sherbet. You can prepare this drink at home very easily. A box of gifts containing milk and tea masala or a box of Kashmiri Kahve is a pleasant experience.
This is what happened when the box of gifts reached home. We believe that you can easily change the flavors of home-made dishes with the changing seasons and have healthy breakfast meals. For example, turmeric has a warming effect and its taste and aroma are amazing. It is not necessary that you look for expensive saffron in everything. If you don’t have the patience to boil milk for hours, don’t worry, dry ginger also has a warming effect and the golden drink made from the mixture of pure turmeric powder and dry ginger beats any tea. You can prepare halwa of sweet potato, black carrot or gram or moong dal by using just a little bit of grease and sugar. Try the Bhapa Doi or Bundelkhandi Farre made in Bengal. Peetha of Odisha and Modak of Maharashtra can easily double the joy of any festival. It is not necessary that we remember them only on Ganesh Chaturthi.