Photo Credit: NationalGeographic
The role of saffron in Holi celebration
What is The Holi Celebration?
It is one of the very glorious and colorful festivities of India. Today, it has gained global popularity and found its way into the heart of people all around the world.
In this article, we want to read a little bit about the colors used in this festival; we will also take a look at the delicious foods and drinks served in the celebration.
Holi is a significant spring festival, held by Hindus every year at the end of winter.
Holi was held last year on 21st March 2019, 1st Farvardin 1398 SH. Hindus see this holiday as an opportunity to say goodbye to the winter and greet the spring again; A spring that is as colorful and spectacular as the festival itself.
17th-century texts have mentioned Holi as a ceremony for a good and prosperous harvest. Also, many Hindus see this celebration as a chance to better their relationships with others and end the disputes.
The Indian subcontinent countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Myanmar, take the feast very seriously. But in India and Nepal, Holi is a national holiday submitted in the country’s calendar.
People hold Holi ceremony in two days; On the first day, people prepare the colors, and they encircle around the fire they have set at night. On the second day, the coloring begins.
But what are these colors made of?
In the past, powder paints were not as bright and completely powdery as their today’s form.
For example, dried spring leaves and pine leaves were used to make green; The yellow color was made from sunflowers, dahlias, etc., Red from roses, the bark of forest apple trees, pomegranates, saffron, a mixture of lime and turmeric, orange powder and etc., Blue from purple grapes and etc., Brown from dried tea leaves, maple tree leaves and etc., and black from species of grapes.
The flowers of trees like Butea monosperma and erythrina variegata were also used to make colored powders. All these substances are environmentally friendly and do not harm humans. Some even have medicinal benefits and are good for the skin.
But artificial colors were made in the mid-19th century, and no one used natural colors anymore. Using artificial colors have many side effects.
These paints are mostly sold on the roads and in the boxes with the words “For industrial use only” on them.
As in drinks and food, this precious red gold still plays a part in this celebration.
Thandi’s drink is tied to the ceremony and is a fundamental part of it.
We should mention here that many people consider this drink to be a marijuana milkshake. This drink dates back to 3000 years ago. Based on legends, it is associated with the Hindu goddess, Shiva. The leaves used to make marijuana are often picked from highlands of the Himalaya mountains.
Thandai is a cold drink that often contains pure water, sugar, Persian melon and watermelon seeds, almond, lotus stem seeds, cashew, cardamom, fennel, rose, white pepper, saffron, and maybe hemp.
Gujiya, Pani Puri, Tarka dal, and porridge are other dishes of this glorious night.
Just as porridge has found its place in the Iranian diet, it is popular among Indians as well. But you should keep in mind that Indian porridge is more like Iranian rice pudding and it has rice in it. It also includes nuts, milk, sugar, saffron, cardamom, etc. Quinoa might also be used instead of rice; Quinoa is a plant with edible seeds, and it’s not considered a cereal.
In the following articles, we will examine the use of saffron in the countries that consider themselves the yielders and owners of the Iranian red gold for some reason.