Festival Foods In India
“Why do we prepare certain delicacies on festival occasions only?” “why milk is the core ingredient in preparations on festivals like Janmashtami or why is modak a must have sweet during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi?”, and so on and so forth… All comes down to one thing that we all enjoy eating each and every delicacies no matter what the occasion or festival it is.
There are numerous festivals in India and thus, followed by, many mouth-watering and jaw-dropping sweets and meals. Special dishes are prepared and also offered to the respective God(s) and seasons play a very important role in celebrations of different festivals. Here are some of the major food delicacies that every person loves to get their mouth on.
Diwali is one such festival where a wife allows her husband who has diabetes to eat his heart. Yes, Diwali is famous for its “mithai” or sweets, during that day each and every household will have a combination of freshly made snacks ranging from Jalebis to Gulab Jamun, Shankarpali to Kheer, Gajar Ka Halwa to Kaju barfi and many more. Along with this savoury dishes are also served.
Although traditional Holi dishes vary from region to region there are some “must have” which can be found even in the remote areas of the country. Among the list the is thandai or a more commonly used word “bhang” is a sweet, creamy milk drink. The drink is a combination of different nuts and exotic spices such as cardamom, rose petals and fennel. But during the particular festival, the interesting drink is served with a pinch of bhang (or marijuana).
This festival is considered one of the most important festivals in India and is celebrated with lip-smacking food too. During this time of the year many people observe fasts and are restricted to some type of food items. Most famous food is the Sabudana Khichdi. This easy dish uses small sized pearl (sabudana)and brings every taste in every spoonful.
Is sometimes also referred to as Durgotsav. It is an annual Hindu festival celebrated mostly in South India, worshiping the Hindu goddess Durga. It is one such festival which is also known as the foodie’s paradise with many lip-smacking dishes and sweets. Sandesh is one of the festival sweets which is a must have for everyone. Prepared with milk, sugar and paneer and decorated with dry fruits, this will melt in your mouth.
Janmashtami is again one of the most beautiful festivals celebrated in India. The celebrations are very popular in places like Mathura and Vrindavan. People fast during the daytime and break it with a special meal after sunset. These special meals include flaked Almond and Saffron Halva. It is another special dish which can be had with the whole family and enjoyed.
Ganesh Chaturthi, considered as an important religious festival in India, is a 10 day long affair of fun festivities. Huge Ganesh idols are installed in homes or outdoors and even in public pandals. Pujas are performed all day long, and at the last day, Visarjan, immersion of the idol(s) take place. Cultural activities, consisting of singing, dancing, etc are held. The most loved snack which this festival offers is the Modak, the favorite sweet of Lord Ganesha. There are many varieties of Modak which are prepared during Ganesh Chaturthi, the most famous being the Maharashtrian modak which is steamed and made out of rice flour.
Being the most important Sikh festival, the lives and teachings of the gurus are discussed on this day. Langars also known as community meals, are organized in the devotional places like the Gurudwaras and the Golden temple. Karah Prasad, that is the meal given to the devotees, is distributed, and the day end by praying and singing devotional songs. People decorate their homes and burst crackers to celebrate Gurpurab. Karah parshad is made with whole wheat flour, loads of ghee and sugar. It is very tasty but comes with a price as it is high in calories( but eat it anyways). Loved by one and all.
One of the most awaited festivals in India, Raksha Bandhan celebrates the brother – sister relationship and their bond. As per Indian tradition it is the duty of the men to provide protection to the women, specifically the brothers to their sisters. To symbolize this unique bond and love between them, sister ties what looks like a piece of thread, Rakhi, onto her brother’s wrist. The brother thus promises to be there to protect his sister against any evil. This is followed by praying to God to shower His blessings. The most enjoyable parts of any Indian festival are the mouth-watering food which is served on the special occasion. The day of Raksha Bandhan brings every one’s favourite dishes on the dining table. Palatable food items like barfi, mithai and pakoras are generally prepared for this day.
Eid is considered one of the most important festival in India for the Muslim community. People dress up in their traditional attire, attend special community prayers in the morning, visit friends and family, and exchange sweets. Children are often given idi (money or gift) by their loved ones. It commemorates the ending of the holy month of fasting called Ramadan. The fast is always broken by eating mouth-watering meals. One of those dishes is the Nawab Biryani which is loved by everyone. This Biryani is tagged as ‘Nawabi’ for the reason being its rich taste.
Ugadi (Ugādi, Samvatsarādi, Yugadi) is the New Year’s Day for the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka in India.It is festively observed in these regions on the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra.This typically falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar.On this day people prepare and share a special food called pachadi, and visit Hindu temples.The pachadi is a notable festive food that combines all flavors – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and piquant (spicy hot). In Telugu and Kannada Hindu traditions, it is a symbolic reminder that one must expect all flavors of experiences in the coming new year and make the most of them.
Considered one of the most popular festivals celebrated in the North East region of India, Bihu is known as the harvest festival of Assam. During the 25-30 day long festival, young men and women dress up in their traditional attire and perform their traditional dance in the village fields, followed by a community feast, with a lot of fanfare. It’s like the traditional New Year celebration of Assamese. The festival mostly involves cooking of food items like green vegetables, celebrating a successful harvest and good quality crops. Other food items such as coconut, jaggery, rice, sesame, milk and milk products are also prepared. Communities enjoy brewing fresh rice and cooking meat.
It is a two-day long religious festival celebrated in Ladakh, and is one of the most known festivals celebrated in the northern most part of India. It attracts a lot of locals as well as foreign tourists each and every year. Festivities include the Cham dance which is performed by the priests dressed up in elaborate outfits and masks, to the tune of the traditional music instruments such as cymbals, drums, trumpets played by the monks themselves. The feast includes heavenly variety of rice, noodles, Thukpa and Momos with many different and delicious sauces, a perfect combination in the chilly atmosphere of the mountains.
Onam is yet another important festival celebrated in India, where people dress up traditionally. Pookalam, which is different exotic floral designs drawn by people on the floor of their houses, are also drawn. People prepare Onasadya, an elaborate meal of 11 to13 dishes. Events such as snake boat race, clap dance, Kathakali dance, and Pulikali procession, where artists dress up like tigers and hunters and perform their respective art forms, are held. Onasadya consists of pure vegetarian traditional dishes, which are always served on a green banana leaf. Sadhya means banquet in Malayalam. The main dish is plain boiled rice, served with other dishes (Kootan) which include different types of curries such as Sambar, Rasam, Papadum, Banana, Yogurt/Buttermilk etc. Their traditional dessert, Payasam, is a delight to eat. The ‘kootan’ are made with different kinds of vegetables and thus giving it a variety of flavours. The reason for including so many dishes is to ensure that the diners enjoy at least two to three dishes.
This is a four-day long harvest festival celebrated in the South of India and is one of the most famous festivals. The preparations for the main dish, Pongal, start early morning and people wear their traditional attire. Celebrations include fun activities like bonfires, dancing, cattle racing, and of course food. The houses are decorated with Kolam, traditional floral design, done mainly with coloured powders. The making of sweet rice is considered the most important and meaningful part of the festival. It is prepared with a variety of ingredients like rice, dal, jaggery, dry fruits, sugar and milk, all of which are always cooked in a (new) clay pot out in the open and allowed to boil for a number of hours. And it is then offered to the Sun God and later partaken by each family member as
Vishu is a Hindu festival, the festivities include offering prayers to the God, bursting firecrackers, decorating the house with lights, wearing new clothes, offering money to children, and having the fantastic, mouth-watering meal which is cooked having equal proportions of salt, sweet, sour and bitter items. The feasts are famously called ‘Sadhya’ which are full of flavour and recognized for their amazing mix of spices.
This festival celebrates the birth of the great Hindu God Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu. Traditional food offered during this time of the year are Panakam and Cucumber Kosumalli.
This is an English festival but there is a huge christian community in India celebrating Christmas .On this day people after prayers eat food like cake ,it is much important to have cake They also have Cupcakes , Roast chicken , Mathri -a traditional flaky biscuit . Mixed nuts, Dumplings, Neureos
Maha Shivratri, a Hindu festival, is celebrated every year in reverence of the God Shiva. The day is often passed by fasting or not eating or drinking anything. But some loopholes often allow people to have a thing or two during the day. Lauki ka halwa is one of the most sought after dishes to eat during the whole span of the day.
This is the Hindu festival that indicates the coming of the spring season. This festival is celebrated in Magh, that is between the months of January and February. Some popular sweets which are relished from Bengal, the land of Mishti, are Boondi ke Laddoo and sweet rice. From Bihar different varieties of sweets like Kheer, Malpua and Boondi are welcomed by all with open mouths.
This festival refers to the celebrations of completion of the harvest season in Punjab. Sarson ka Saag and Makki ki Roti are the most sought after meal people enjoy.
Eid al-Adha, also known as “Sacrifice Feast” and “Bakr-Eid”, is one of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide every year, and considered most holier. Haleem and Keema are two of the most famous dishes which a non vegetarian would love to get hands on.