Thekua: The blessing Of Chhath Maiya
It won't be wrong if we say Guwahati is a “mini India.” From Bihu to Durga Puja and Diwali to Christmas there is a celebration for every festival. And that includes the Chhath Puja.
Every year the ghats of the mighty Brahmaputra are cleaned and decked up for Chhath Puja celebrations. People visit the banks of the ghats and pray to the Sun God (Surya Bhagwan).
Chhath Puja is dedicated to Surya Bhagwaan, which people believe, sustains life on the earth. It is besides the point that scientifically this holds true. The puja is also performed to seek blessings to live longer and healthily and prosper all through life. The festival is celebrated between the months of October and November. Chhath means “Six” hence the festival starts just after six days of Diwali.
With every festival comes along some delicious food and Chhath Puja is no exception.
Among the various types of food (prasad) offered to God Surya during Chhath Puja, ‘Thekua’ definitely tops the list. Thekua, also called 'Khajuria' or 'Thikari,’ is a delectable sweet dish which has a crispy and crunchy outer layer over a soft interior.
Made with wheat, jaggery/sugar, dry fruits and ghee, Thekua could be termed as a form of an Indian cookie. Harder on the outside and softer on the inside Thekuas not only taste good but it also has a longer shelf life.
Speaking to G Plus, N Chauhan, a Guwahatian whose family has been celebrating Chhath Puja for decades said, “It is believed that during Chhath Puja, Chhath Maiya visits her maternal home - maike - during which she is served several dishes including Thekua.”
Another resident Rameshwar Sharma told G Plus, “On the occasion of Chhath Puja all the locally and seasonally available fruits and vegetables are offered to God as Prasad.”
Speaking about the origins of Thekua he said, “Chhath Puja is believed to have originated in the states of Bihar and parts of UP where wheat and sugarcane are among the major crops. It is believed that people started making Thekuas with such locally available ingredients/products which included wheat, jaggery, coconut and ghee. Thekuas are also popular because they have a longer shelf life and because of its non-perishable characteristics could be packed for roads. The ingredients used to make Thekua have various health benefits too. ”
Adding further he said that initially people used to make Thekuas only with jaggery or gur but in recent times they have started using sugar instead of jaggery. During Chhath Puja, we always make a small batch of jaggery-based Thekuas which is offered to God.
In recent times, some people bake Thekuas instead of frying it to make it a healthier option. Compared to other sweet dishes Thekuas have balanced sweetness in them and they go well with tea and savory snacks.
It won’t be wrong to consider Thekua as a blessing from Chaath Maiya for all the sweet lovers out there.
Here’s wishing everyone a very happy Chhath Puja from G Plus.
Go look for your friends celebrating Chhath Puja and grab your share of Thekuas now!