An entire festival dedicated to Colors! Now, who wouldn’t love the sound and sight of that? The Indian festival of ‘Holi’ is a day that millions of people in India and around the world, look forward to. Playing with colors, revelry, age-old family delicacies, exchanging gifts, and much pomp-n-show accompany this Hindu festival that brings people from different religions and communities together in love and harmony. Today we shall introduce you to this exuberant festival and also grace you with two exclusive, in-house recipes on how to make iced tea, but with a Holi twist!
Significance of Holi
The festival gets its name from the word ‘hola’ offering prayers to gods for a good harvest. The festival also has many myths and legends attached to it. It is considered significant as the festival is a symbol of the triumph of good over evil.
Since centuries in our tradition, ‘Holi’ celebrates the beginning of a vibrant and lively spring. The festival holds a special place of significance for farmers as it marks the end of a harsh winter, the season marred with a poor yield. Farmers, on this day, celebrate the onset of the spring season which is also the start of a great year’s produce. Additionally, the festival celebrates love, fertility, and the triumph of good over evil; a symbolism for the passing of winter.
The Legend Behind the Festival of Holi
The spirited festival of Holi doesn’t only mark the beginning of the Spring season, but it originates from a fascinating Hindu mythological tale. A tale of deceit, power, and the triumph of good over evil.
Legend says that there was once a King ‘Hiranyakashipu’, was all consumed with the idea of ultimate power, disliked for his barbaric ways and vengeful wrath. He believed and forced his empire to worship him as a god, instead of the deities themselves. All gave in to the fear, except for his own son — ‘Prahlad’. Prahlad was a staunch follower and believer of Lord Vishnu. He refused to give his own father Hiranyakashipu, the stature of a god.
Prahlad’s disobedience angered King Hiranyakashipu who put his sister — ‘Holika’ to the task of murdering his own son Prahlad. Holika was a demon who amongst other evil qualities, had the ability to withstand fire and not be burnt by it. She was appointed with the murderous task of tricking Prahlad to step into a funeral pyre with her. She managed to get Prahlad into the burning pyre, but fate had other plans for both of them. While Prahlad was immune to the fire and was unscathed by the flames, the demon Holika was perished in the fire due to her evil intentions. This is the reason why the first day of celebration entails burning paddy fires on crossroads, symbolizing the end of Holika and to proclaim that good will always win over evil.
The Symbolic Pyre of Holika
Holi is a unique festival here in India which is celebrated beyond the barriers of religion, caste, and creed. A two-day festival, the festival is predominantly a Hindu event, which entails a set of rituals which are followed across a majority of Indian households. Let’s look at how does India celebrate this mega 2-day festival.
The First Day of Holi
The legend requires Hindus to mark the first day of Holi with burning of the ‘Holika’ pyre which is a ritualistic bonfire meant to emulate the events stated by the folklore. Dry wood, paddy, and other inflammable materials are gathered and stacked up in the middle of the crossroads across residential societies, community center, parks, and other open spaces. After the sun goes down, people congregate around the bonfire to offer prayers and mark the victory of good and the fair.
The Second Day of Holi
The second day of this joyous festival brings in the quotient of color, fun, and extravaganza, known as the ‘Rangwali Holi’ (The Holi of Colors). The festivities begin with people applying and smearing each other with ‘Gulal’ (a fine colored powder usually made by drying flower petals) and getting drenched in water. Imagine a massive La Tomatina festival, only with colors. The children are seen roaming the streets with water guns and balloons filled with colored water, which land on anyone who dares to walk past them. Every community organizes a large party with dedicated food stalls catering holi-special sweet and savory delicacies. From people dancing to Bollywood tunes, folk songs, or playing musical instruments — there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t join the party!
After the day has been spent playing with colors, partying, and gorging on some delicious food, people proceed to their homes to bathe and wash away the colors, to rest and sober up for the evening. The evenings are reserved for family gatherings, meeting up with friends and loved ones in order to greet them and also to exchange gifts.
Now that Holi has become widely popular as a fun Indian festival, it is celebrated across various major cities around the world. You can easily look up to see if your city is hosting a Holi gathering and experience the fun and galore first hand!
Our Indian festivities would be incomplete without the impressive array of festive delicacies. From sweet hand-pies, called ‘gujiya’ stuffed with a sumptuous filling of coconut, jaggery, milk solids etc. are extremely popular across Indian households during Holi. Savory pies, puddings, savory fried snacks with a range of exotic chutneys are also a part of the Holi spread. But it would be incomplete without a refreshing, chilled glass of ‘Thandai’. Since it marks the beginning of spring, many also grace this festival with a variety of iced teas to beat the sun.
A ‘Thandai’ is a rich milk concoction blessed with chopped almonds, pistachios, sweet and woody spices, rose petals, fennel seeds etc. With every other city in the country with its own version of this traditional drink , you can never go wrong with this refreshing and wholesome delicacy.
Since Holi is all about sharing the good things in life with our loved ones, we at Vahdam Teas wanted to bring you two fascinating and delicious traditional recipes that you can easily whip up within the comfort of your homes and grace your festivities with.
Turmeric Spiced Iced Latte Cocktail
Our take on the traditional Holi ‘Thandai’ using our award-winning Turmeric Spiced Herbal Tea Tisane, milk, exotic nuts, rose petals, with a boozy twist. Serve chilled and relish a healthy and buzzed Holi treat!
Time: 10 minutes.
- Vahdam Turmeric Spiced Herbal Tisane Tea bags : 3
- Fresh water — 100 ml
- Whole Milk / Almond Milk : 90ml
- Vodka / Extra dry Gin : 10 ml
- Saffron strands : 4–5
- Pistachios ( crushed) : 1 gram
- Almonds (crushed) : 1 g
- Sugar — 5 grams
- Ice cubes
- Bring 100 ml of fresh water in a kettle to a boil (90°C — 100°C).
- Remove the water from the heat.
- Place the tea bags in the kettle. Cover with a lid.
- Let the tea steep for 5 minutes, then strain into a blender.
- Place the tea in a refrigerator for 10–15 minutes.
- Now pour the cold brewed tea into a blender.
- Add in the sugar and 90 ml of cold milk to the blender.
- Add 10 ml of any Vodka or dry Gin of your choice to the mix.
- Add 5–6 ice cubes to the blender.
- Blend all the ingredients well, till the beverage thickens a bit.
- Pour it into a tall, chilled glass.
- Garnish with a mix of crushed almonds, pistachios, and saffron strands. Enjoy!
Hibiscus Rose Iced Tea Cocktail
An utterly rejuvenating and heavenly iced tea cocktail using loose leaf tea, our exotic Hibiscus Rush Herbal Tea Tisane, rose petals, and a dash of the spirit of your choice! Easy to make and sincerely flavorful.
Serves : 1
Time : 10 Minutes
- Vahdam’s Hibiscus Rush Herbal Tea Tisane : 5 Grams
- Fresh Water : 190 ml
- Vodka / Dry Gin : 10 ml
- Sugar : 5 Grams
- Rose Petals : 4 -5
- Ice cubes
- Bring 190 ml of fresh water in a kettle to a boil (90°C — 100°C).
- Remove the water from the heat.
- Add in 5 grams of Hibiscus Rush Herbal Tisane to the kettle.
Cover with a lid.
- Let the tea steep for 3 minutes, then strain into a cup.
- Place the brewed tea in the refrigerator for 10–15 minutes.
- Now pour the brewed tea in a blender.
- Add in the sugar, 10 ml of Vodka or Gin, and ice cubes to the mix.
- Blend all the ingredients well. Pour into a chilled glass.
- Garnish with fresh rose petals and enjoy your Boozy Hibiscus Rose Iced Tea! Enjoy!
We sincerely hope that you love these recipes as much as we did in the process of curating them! Here’s wishing all you tea lovers a very happy and prosperous Holi. Let’s all bring in the rest of the year with a lot of love, kindness, and compassion.
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