Holi Eats & Treats (And how did cannabis find its way in Holi?)

Holi Eats & Treats (And how did cannabis find its way in Holi?)

holi munchies Dahi Bhalla Puran Poli Pakoda Malpua Ras Malai Gujiya Holi festivities are incomplete without these delicious snacks & sweets!


The tradition of thandai was popularized In North India and has become a hallmark of Holi.

The festival falls in the month of Phalgun, celebrating the end of winter and the arrival of spring, and it gets hot!  This drinks helps cool the body and imrpoves gut health.

What's in the drink?

Pistachios, almonds, rose petals, poppy seeds, cashews, cardamom, black pepper, fennel seeds & saffron.

During transitional season, the immune system is believed to weaken. Most of the ingredients used to make thandai are known for their health benefits.


Indian agriculture is divided into two main harvest seasons: Kharif and Rabi crops.
Holi marks the start of spring and the Rabi Harvest it brings.

Major Rabi crops in India include:

  1. Wheat
  2. Barley
  3. Mustard
  4. Sesame

What is Bhang?

Bhang is traditionally distributed during the spring festival of Maha Shivaratri and Holi, often mixed in thandai or other food items. It's a green paste made with the cannabis plant, which gets grounded and mixed with whole milk or yogurt to make a shake.
In parts of rural India, cannabis is believed to have many medicinal properties:

  • Cures fever, dysentery & sunstroke
  • Clears out phlegm
  • Aids in digestion
  • Gives alertness to the body
  • Relieves speech imperfections & lisping
  • Increases appetite

NOTE: Consumption of bhang carries a variety of risks though. It’s not recommended in childhood and adolescence, during pregnancy, while nursing, or for use in people at risk of certain health issues like depression.

The legal status of cannabis in India is unclear.  It's permitted in some states but not in others. History of Cannabis in India 1893 Britishers Intrigued by Marijuana Use in India Intrigued by Indians’ widespread use of marijuana, they commissioned a report on its social and moral impact. 1894 Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report Published Cannabis labeled the “penicillin of Ayurvedic medicine” 1961 UN treaty Cannabis lumped with hard drugs and its production and sale was banned, except as medicine or for research. India tried to push back. Decision  on UN Treaty India managed to define bhang, procured from cannabis leaves and seeds, differently than marijuana for religious and cultural tradition purposes. Today The treaty gave countries like India 25 years to enforce the law fully. The Indian government passed a domestic drug law that conformed to the treaty. The difference is that India’s laws are still lax on recreational marijuana use.

In the tale of the Samudra Manthan, the gods and demons churned the ocean to uncover the drink of immortality (amrita), but doing so created a deadly poison (halahal).
Shiva drank the poison to save everyone, and was offered bhang to recover. It has since been labeled as Shiva's drink of choice.

Did you know, 

In the Atharvaveda, the cannabis plant is described as one of the five most sacred plants on earth. It is also referred to as a “source of happiness” or “joy-giver".

Krishna: Hey Sudama, what are you up to today? I have a really fun idea!

Sudama: Do you need our help stealing some makkhan or fighting off demons again?
Krishna: LOL no, not today! It's about Radha! It's actually my mom's idea but she told me to have a surprise color fight with all of our friends. This way, it will be tricky for Radha to find my blue-skinned face in a sea of all the colorful faces.
Sudama: Dude, that's hilarious! OK, I'll go grab flowers so we can grind up colored powder. We're going to need LOTS of it hahahaha

Meanwhile, Radha was planning to play a different kind of holi to welcome Krishna, and this tradition still continues today...

A unique holi celebration in Barsana

Laddu Mar Holi ("Hit Laddus" Holi)

Devotees throw laddus at each other, and then greet each other by feeding delicious laddus too.

Lath Mar Holi ("Hit Sticks" Holi)

Women playfully hit men with sticks while they try to shield themselves.