India is a land of festivals. Due to its multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural social setup, every day is a festival day here. The year could start with a national festival like Republic day and end with the universally celebrated Christmas. One day it is Diwali and another Holi; Ramzan is celebrated by some and others celebrate Thadri.
Now, Thadri is one of the main Festivals of the Sindhis. Sindhi community has its origins in the Indus valley civilization. They are a group of multi-religious people originating from Sind province in the present day Pakistan.
The 1947 partition of India caused some members of the Sindhi Hindu community to shift from Pakistan to India. Though they lost their wealth and savings at that time, they have started their lives afresh and have been able to succeed in life. They have settled in many parts of the country like Kutch, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Secunderabad, Adipur, and Gandhidham.
Even though they are separated by geographical boundaries they continue to follow the traditions that have been passed on my by their previous generations. Some of their festivals are Makar Sankrant, Basant Panchami, Shivratri, Teejadi, Thadri (Thadadi), Janmasthtami, Ganesh Chaturthi. Thadri is one of the main Festivals of Sindhis.
Thadri – a festival dedicated to an ancient Goddess
Sindhis celebrate Thadri, also called Thadadi, in the Hindu month of Shravan, just a week after Rakshabandhan festival. It is dedicated to Goddess Shitala Mata. A statue of this Goddess was found in the Mohenjodaro excavations; this festival has been celebrated by Sindhis since then. This Goddess is appeased to cool down the body and to ward off diseases like measles, smallpox, chicken pox.
Previous day of the festival
Thandri means cold, hence the food is prepared one day in advance of the festival. After the delicacies are prepared, the women clean the cooking stove and sprinkle few drops of water to dedicate the food to the Goddess. The cooked items are left on the stove until the next day. The women also clean the house and decorate the doorways.
Mothers send rakhi as blessings to their daughters. They send two rakhis if the daughter is pregnant. They also send Lolas pani puri, and dry farsans made at home along with the rakhi package.
On the Day of the festival
It is said that nothing should splutter on the cooking unit on this day. Only satvic items like tea are prepared if necessary. Hence the cooking stove is given a rest on this day. The whole family and sometimes the whole community gathers together on the day of this festival. There is a prayer session where young and old, relatives and extended family members join. Food or roti is offered to the Goddess. Singing and dancing activities follow.
Later the elders in the family bless and give these youngsters small gifts, fruits, and delicacies. There is a grand feast which the whole community partake together.
The special spread on Thadri
Some of the dishes in the feast are Lolo (sweet Rotis), Besan Kokis, Parathas and dry dishes like Potato, Karela and Bhindi. Curd and pickles are also taken.
- Mitho Lolo is made of the wheat floor, jaggery or sugar and a generous dose of ghee.
- Besan Koki is made of chickpea flour, mint and green chilli. Onions are also sometimes added to it.
- Moongan Ji Daal Jo phulko is a paratha stuffed with lentil and spices.
- Chotha is made using flour, ghee, and jaggery like Mitho Lolo but it is deep fried and cut into quarters.
- Tariyal Bhindiyu is lady’s finger deep fried with oil.
- Saag is a Spinach gravy with onion and tomatoes.
- Tariyal Karela refers to fried Karela that is highly spiced.
- Sanna Pakora is chickpea flour fritters that are highly in demand.
Khato Dudh(curd rice), Sai chutney (mint/coriander), Ambidin ji Khataiyan(mango pickle) are also prepared to accompany these dishes
This festival has many life lessons for youngsters of today. It shows the importance of preservation of food in the age of food scarcity. It also highlights the importance of family and community in our lives.