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Holi And The Flavours Of Bhang

Bhang, which is synonymous with Lord Shiva, has been so intertwined with Holi that it has been designated as an appropriate Holi beverage

Holi is among the biggest and most popular festivals, with the whole country enjoying the delights of color. There are indeed several facts and stories that revolve around the fascinating Holi myths. The most significant aspects of Holi celebrations include gatherings, gujiyas, and thandai (a drink made with milk, pistachios, almonds, sugar, and other ingredients.) When it comes to Thandai, the bhang is stated explicitly. It is yet another part of Holi that appeals to adults.

Bhang is a paste made from the dried, crushed, and soaked buds, leaves, and flowers of the female Cannabis plant, which is then mixed into food and beverages. In India, it’s been added to food and beverages for millennia and is a component of Hindu religious rites, customs, and celebrations such as the famous spring festival of Holi.

Bhang
Process of making bhang. Wikimedia Commons

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Well, Bhang, like Holi, has a backstory too. It had first been used as an intoxicating substance in around 1000 BC, and it quickly became a significant part of Hindu culture. Bhang arrangements were held holy by Gods, specifically Lord Shiva because he is said to have explored the mixture’s ineffable effects. Bhang, which is synonymous with Lord Shiva, has been so intertwined with Holi that it has been designated as an appropriate Holi beverage. Devotees also consume drinks blended with bhang as a blessing from Lord Shiva.

However, one of the lesser-known legends claims that bhang is served on Holi to commemorate Lord Shiva’s comeback from Vairagya to Grihastha from family life to detachment. This is how the plot evolves. Goddess Parvati sought Kama Deva’s assistance in distracting Lord Shiva, who was deep in contemplation at the time. As a result, Kama Deva shot a floral arrow at Lord Shiva to deter him from practicing meditation any longer.

Bhang is said to be described in the Atharva Veda as a medicinal herb that relieves stress and makes people feel good and happy. Thus, to make the Holi festivities more enjoyable, people add a little bit of bhang to the thandai. 

ALSO READ: Celebrate Holi In The Land Of Krishna

Bhang
An old picture of bhang drinkers. Wikimedia Commons

Bhang, as ancient as it is, has become an inextricable part of the Indian culture. As it often has evolved to reflect a number of things. They may be pure religious beliefs. However, if one recognizes Indians’ innate sensitive and compassionate nature, one might easily sense the deep relationship that individuals have with bhang. 

While bhang has spiritual significance and is stated in Ayurveda, excessive consumption can be harmful to the nervous system. Bhang should not be consumed by children, women who are pregnant, or someone with a medical condition. Bhang should be consumed in moderation.

By- Khushi Bisht

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