We’re not in India, but like Kenya, Tanzania has a large Indian population and it was decided we were going to celebrate Holi in our compound. Somewhere after lunch the decorations were built up, as well as the bouncy castle for the kids. And just after 4pm the party really kicked off.
Holi is a Hindu festival, also known as the festival of colour. It celebrates love and the start of spring, and the triumph of good over evil. It is usually held around the spring equinox. On the first day a bonfire is lit and prayers said to ensure the inner evil is destroyed. The next day people throw dry coloured powder at each other and get soaked in water. It is said that it celebrates love as Krishna (a blue diety) loved Radha, and he was worried his skin colour might cause an issue for her. So, on the advice of his wise mum, he coloured her face the same as his and now couples often colour their faces in the same colour to celebrate their love for each other.
We had been told to pick up some white Indian clothes so the colour would stand out well. So as we headed down we looked very crisp and clean, but that didn’t last long. Sanjiv, one of Jon’s colleagues, had spotted us and gave us the proper ‘welcome’. Now we were no longer white…
The guys organising had done a great job. There were dancers, a dj, water balloons, water guns, and of course lots and lots of dry paint (still not enough). Nobody was spared and the kids, and adults, were loving it!
After all the dancing and handing out the prizes, food was served. And as we were celebrating a Hindu festival the food was of course Indian. It was delicious. There was a lot of the standard fare, but some of the desserts were typical for the Holi festival. We particularly liked the carrot halwa, topped with lots of nuts. Delicious.
Ingredients for gajar ka halwa
- ½ tin (200gr) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tbsp pure ghee or cooking oil
- 1 litre milk
- 1kg grated carrots
- 25gr chopped roasted cashew nuts
- ½ teaspoon of cardamom
- Fry the carrots in the ghee or oil until they are soft.
- Add milk to the carrots in a pan, bring to a boil.
- Cook on low flame, stirring occasionally until milk dries up.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue cooking on low flame, again stirring occasionally until the milk dries up.
- Add a little bit of cardamom powder and cook for another two to three minutes.
- Garnish with nuts and raisins and serve hot.