Holi is the festival of colors and happiness and let’s admit it no matter how much you made-up hating it but you love that, it does not recognise any restrictions. Friends, family, kids and almost everyone hiding colour in their hand, pretending coy and having fun, that’s what Holi is all about but over the years ‘Bhang’ became an undisputable part of this celebration. Along with the delicious ‘pakoras’ and ‘vadas’, lip smacking ‘Thandai’/’Bhang’ makes the celebration of Holi more vibrant and helps to escalate the spirits of Holi.
How Did It Happen And From Where Does This Start?
What Is ‘Bhang’?
Culled from the leaves and buds of cannabis, the drink has an ancient relationship with mankind. Cannabis has long been cultivated as a useful Medicine, earlier the Chinese pharmacopoeias used to cultivate it as a source of medicine. In India, the drink is associated with Lord Shiva and is prepared from the leaves and buds of the more potent female cannabis plant. It is consumed in a form of a drink mixed with almonds, rose petals and pistachio.
Also Read: Lord Shiva Life Lessons
Religious Beliefs Associated With ‘Bhang’ In India.
‘Bhang’ has always been an inseparable part of Indian tradition. They might be the superstitious beliefs but one can easily feel the emotional value that Indian people hold for ‘Bhang’. The hemp plant is associated with Lord Shiva and is regarded holy by the Hindus. There is a belief that states that carrying ‘Bhang’ while meeting someone is an omen of success. The other belief states that seeing ‘Bhang’ in Dreams is a sign of prosperity in future. Another belief suggests that walking underfoot a leaf of holy ‘Bhang’ spells doom for that person.
People also believe that it contains medicinal qualities and if taken in a proper quantity, it cures fever, sunstroke and dysentery. It also sharpens appetite, cure speaking imperfections and lispering. Some suggest that it freshens the intellect and sharpens the mind.
Relation Of ‘Bhang’ And Holi In India.
‘Bhang’ is a drink that has always been associated with Lord Shiva and its association with the festival of colors started particularly from north India. In North India, Holi is celebrated with a gusto unseen to any place else. The land of Shiva’s Worship Varanasi or Banaras, where Bhang is prepared at the ghats, associated the tradition of ‘Bhang’ in Holi. Varanasi or Banaras is the hub of ‘Bhang’, you can find a massive crowd of men engaged in the preparation of ‘Bhang’ anywhere at the ‘Ghats’. ‘Bhang’ is considered as a refreshing drink which is a healthy alternative to alcohol. ‘Bhang’ or Thandai is regarded as a beneficial drink that releases anxiety and it is also described as a sacred drink. Since it elevates the spirit of joy, it has now become a ceremonious holi beverage.
Why Is It A Big NO NO!!
Most of the people who describe ‘Bhang’ as a refreshing drink forget to mention that the drink takes a while to settle in your senses and one it gets settle, it takes another while to leave them. The trip of ‘Bhang’ varies from person to person. You may find yourself laughing for hours or crying or eating or even getting a fit after having a glass or two of ‘Bhang’. So our suggestion is that if you are going to consume it make sure you are surrounded by some of the sober people who can take care of you before you turn into Crazy Pants!!
Happy Holi !!!
23 Mar 2016
Avni S. Singh