The Indian Snacks and Sweets I Eat Every Holi

March 10, 2017

There is no one way to celebrate Holi. Holi is the Hindu festival of colors that heralds the start of spring. This year, it falls on March 13th. The word "Holi" usually conjures a sense of organized chaos, fistfuls of colorful powder flung across skies and onto people's skin, like something you’d see in Bollywood cinema.

My Bengali family? Well, we celebrate Holi a little differently. Our expressions of joy are more subdued. We usually prepare a stainless steel tray with a few shades of colorful powder, smear our cheeks with it, and call it a day. The end. It’s a considerably more austere celebration than you may expect from the way Holi’s been commercialized.

We don't, however, skimp on snacks. There are a few foods that are known as quintessential "Holi foods." Like a good number of other families, we gravitate towards kachori, puffy mounds of pastry fried and stuffed with spices; many other families love gujiya, a dumpling filled with sweets.

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But my family treats Holi as an excuse to eat whatever we want, so long as it brings us joy. Here are some of the favorite dishes my family likes to eat during Holi—along with a few we're still waiting to try.

Do you celebrate Holi? What do you eat? Let us know in the comments.

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    Mayukh Sen
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


ansu March 11, 2017
i love barfi too :)
Whiteantlers March 10, 2017
I love barfi but am not sure it's specifically a Holi treat. Tomorrow I am going to a Holi celebration at University of Pennsylvania and am hoping to get hit with some of the lovely colored powders. Happy holiday to you, Mayukh! : )
Mayukh S. March 11, 2017
!!! Barfi is my favorite too, Whiteantlers! Have fun today.