• Behind the Cuisine

Have a Happy Holi, and welcome Spring

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Written by Scoffable
Mar 7, 2023
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If you haven’t heard of Holi, you’re missing out. This joyous Indian festival is a welcome break from Winter.

Holi is an annual celebration for people of Hindu faith. It takes place in February or March, depending on the Hindu lunar calendar, and this year falls on 8 March.

Holi celebrates the arrival of spring, with bright and bold colours breaking the dreary winter months. There are many regional variations around India, and now around the world, but most often the festival lasts two days.

A bonfire is lit on the first night, to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and has a more religious focus. The second day is more about social celebrations. In the morning, water is coloured with different powdered dyes, and playfully thrown (or fired through water pistols) at friends and loved ones. If you’ve ever been to a colour festival, or even a nightclub colour party in freshers week, its origins come from Holi.

a plate of small homemade pastries is surrounded by small pots of brightly coloured powder ready for Holi celebrations
Sweet treats and savoury snacks are part of the morning celebrations
Food plays a significant part in Holi celebrations.

Snacks help revellers power through the morning’s activities, before cleaning up, changing into smart clothes and sitting down to a luscious, more formal lunch.

Buffets are often favoured to allow for mingling with friends. Savoury biscuits, malpua (Indian pancakes), bhajis, pakoras and dumplings are popular, with potato or chickpea curries forming heartier main meals.

And if anyone is still hungry, in the evening, it is common to visit friends and family for dinner and to exchange sweet treats.

If you’re interested in exploring the traditions of Holi, look out for celebrations near you – there are usually annual family events in Edinburgh and Glasgow which give an introduction to the foods and traditions of Holi (just be prepared to get very colourful while you are there!).

Or, if you’re strictly about the food, why not order from your local Indian takeaway and say goodbye to winter with some heart-warming, belly-filling Indian delicacies delivered straight to your door.

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