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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holi Special - The Thandai Tradition

The Hindu festival of color and joy, Holi, is being celebrated in India on 22nd March 2008. This festival marks the begining of the Phagun and falls on the day of "Purnima" (full Moon).
This festival has a very ancient origin and it celebrates the truimph of "good" over "evil". On this day all the people rejoice and forget all their differences like cast, creed, skin color etc, to have fun, throw colors and distribute sweets to each other in greeting.



Amongst the various traditions that are followed in Holi is the tradition of "Thandai". This is a very refreshing and healthy drink that is savoured by one and all. It is also a very energetic drink and therefore when you are all exhausted after playing holi with each other and expending your energy in dumping your friends, and foe into the colored water pool, you will be able to get the instant energy that you will require to then run away from all those very people who you dumped into the pool! Sometimes, people even lace their thandai with Bhang (an intoxicating drink) and then get high on it. This, of course, helps to set the mood for singing and dancing and making merry.

Thandai is nothing but a cooling drink usually made of purified water, sugar, seeds of watermelon and muskmelon, almonds, lotus stem seeds, cashew nut, cardamom, saunf, rose-flower, white pepper, saffron and the very intoxicating bhang (which is optional).

This tradition of drinking Thandai is generally followed more in North India, especially in Benaras (UP), the home town of the Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan! There have been some very popular holi songs featuring this actor. Who can forget the Song "Rang Barse" from the hit film "Silsila" which was sung by the actor himself. Amitabh has been shown in this song having this traditional drink with Bhang and then singing and flirting merrily with his girlfriend (Rekha) right in front of his wife (Jaya). And, of course, everybody has a very big hangover the next day!

Thandai, as the name suggests, provides a cooling effect as the temperatures do go up in the North during this festival. This drink, when prepared at home, definitely tastes better than commercial preparations. You will find the best kinds in the Northern parts of India. These days this drink also is available in instant packs, which can be prepared easily.

If you are looking for a recipe to prepare Thandai at your home for this featival, then visit these links to the two ways of preparing this drink.

Thandai Recipe one:
http://www.holifestival.org/thandai-recipes.html

Thandai Recipe Two:
http://www.holifestival.org/holi-thandai-recipes.html

So, all you folks out there who are planning on celebrating this fun festival, don't forget to take this refreshing drink. Wish you all a very colorful and "Happy Holi". And in case, someone laces your drink with Bhang, then hope you recover from your hangover the next day! Have lots of fun....

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