Childhood memories often get rekindled during festivals, this being the best time when we hear folktales relating to each festival, the intricate rituals around it, the elaborate food and feasts prepared to celebrate it. While my friend recently asked me the significance of gujiya during Holi, for that instant I had no answer. Going back down the memory lane, to the time when Maa and i would make tons of sweet and savory goodies during Holi. Inquisitive about everything the same question popped up in my mind while learning the skills of making khoya filled goodies. I think it was important for Maa to give me the right message while explaining to me the importance of gujiya which stays with me forever. Maa who would say that gujiya signifies a fulfilling life. A nice and fluffy, gujiya with a right note of sugar or ‘bhura’ is important as it also signifies a united family . Those were just simple words but with very profound meaning.
The gujiya is filled with khoya and dried fruits especially ‘Chirongee’ ; should be of melt in the mouth consistency! It must have a well defined note of each ingredient like each family member of the house . The proverb around gujiya says “Jo gujiya foote baar, baar kadhaiya mein , Matlab jaano hue kalhay ghar angan mein.” Means while frying the gujiya if it cracks and hot oil seeps thru, the household might see some discontent amongst the family. The hot oil denotes anger and jealous outsiders who enjoy the fight/s in a broken family. Each gujiya must be perfectly sealed which signifies a strong united family. One must know the recipe well which signifies the recipe of having a united happy family.
It’s made in large quantities so that we can distribute amongst family and friends. It’s a way to thank mother nature since Holi arrives post harvest, when the houses are filled up with food grains and all the goodies of winter season. My Maa and i would make not less than 200-250 gujiyas and different namkeens…3-4 days of heavy cooking in the house. We were not allowed to taste any…until we finish the Holika dahan puja !!
It amazing to know how beautifully food plays an important role in our festivals and also teaches us the values of living a good life by thanking mother nature and people around us. Festivals along with folklore are the true essence of celebrating life along with food.