Finding happiness is difficult nowadays because you want to find happiness in something big what comes only a few times in a lifetime. But at the same time, we ignore the moments of happiness what comes with small incidents or rituals. We want to buy happiness which is most of the time unachievable. So we feel nostalgic when we think about childhood memories which is full of happy moments due to small incidents & rituals. Particularly during festivals, we created a lot of happy moments in our childhood and food is an important thing for any festival. So here is a list of 5 Bengali festival foods which will certainly make you feel nostalgic and bring a big smile on your face.
5 Bengali festival foods which will make your feel nostalgic
Taler bora on the occasion of Janmashtami
The first food that comes in my mind is taler bora which is an inseparable part of the Janmashtami festival. Is this not true? It is a very special Bengali sweet dish what is often prepared on the occasion of Janmashtami to offer as prasad to Lord Krishna. Every kid used to wait for the day because of those taler boras and a lot of happiness associated with the Janmashtami festival. Happiness does not end here because it will continue till the next day. Most of the kids used to bring taler bora as a tiffin in their school. But those thing does not happen today, atleast not in cities or urban areas. Nowadays everybody is busy and they do not have time to prepare taler bora at home.
Pitha on the occasion of Makar sankranti
Pitha is another thing what is prepared on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. It is the days from when the Sun moves toward Northern Hemisphere. It indicates that the day will be longer by day by day and night will shorter in coming days. It is also known by different names like Maghi, Magh Bihu, Uttayan, Poush Sankranti in different regions across India. It is celebrated in different rituals & custom in different regions. People also fly kites on this day. In Bengal, most people make different types of pitha on this day. Everybody will feel nostalgic when they remember old days because it used it be celebrated more enthusiastically one or two decades ago. People (mostly women in the family) used to engage themselves to make different types of pitha for the whole day because it takes a lot of time because there was no mixer grinder machine in days in most the kitchen of a middle-class family. But still, they used to happily prepare those. Now nowadays only a few families maintain such traditions. Most people either do not make such pitha at home or they prefer to buy those from local sweet shops.
Garur dal on the occasion of last day of Ashwin month
I think many people actually do not know what is garur dal. But still there are so many people who can identify this dish what used to be cooked on the last day of Ashwin month (Bengali calendar day) and eat it with rice on the same day as well as next day which is the first day of Kartik month. That is why it is said “Ashwin e radhe, Kartik e khay”. It is said that on this day except for rice (‘Jaaler ta aar haaler ta khete nei’) you should not eat anything which is caught by fishing net (Jaal) or cultivated by plough (Haal). So what will people do? They use all homegrown vegetables to make this garur dal. I do not know the actual reason for such a thing. Why was it said? But I realized that actually it is advised as to refrain us from buying anything from the market on this day and use homegrown vegetables. So it actually promotes homegrown vegetables. So are your feeling nostalgic when it used to be cooked at home and eat a lot of vegetables on this day? In earlier days, most people do the same. But nowadays people buy all those mixed vegetable from the market and prepare at home. But I am happy that I am able to produce my own vegetables at the rooftop garden.
Lamba begun bhaja in any meal on any special occasion
What the ….. Huh!!
What is this lamba begun bhaja (long brinjal fry)? Is it different from normal brinjal fry? I think you are thinking about all these things? But if you spent your teenage during the nineties or earlier decades, then you can remember now what is lamba begun bhaja. Those days are gone when it is served to guest in any meal on any occasion. From wedding ceremony to any religious festival if rice is served in food menu then dal, rice and lamba begun bhaja are compulsory. Can you remember those days? Those were the days when food is used to served on the banana leaf. Okay, are you younger? and so you did not experience it. Then I would say that during those days simple brinjal fries used to be served along with dal & bhaat (cooked rice). More particularly, long (Lamba in Bengali) purple coloured brinjals were used to make such fries. That is why it is named as lamba begun bhaja. It was very common in a meal for any festival or special occasion during those days.
Roasted potato, sweet potato or brinjal during narapora night
Do you know nara pora? It is celebrated at the night before Dol Yatra (Bengali style Holi). It is known as Holika Dahan festival. It symbolized as burning Holika asura to protect Prahlad, a devotee of Vishnu. There are many groups of people organized Holika Dahan activity in the same locality. People put various vegetable inside the bonfire. People put potatoes, brinjals, sweet potatoes etc. After the even they collect those from the ashes. People eat those roasted vegetables or share those with friends. Many people prefer to bring those back at home and mashed with with spices. Did you ever experience such a festival? It is fun. People stand near the bonfire and shout “Aaj amader narapora kal amader dol, bolo Hori Bol Hori Bol”
So which one make you feel nostalgic? Is there any? I think if you are a Bengali and had a wonderful childhood then you definitely experienced all of those and your memories passing across the childhood nostalgia. Am I correct?