ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

48. Ghughutiya Fest of Kumaon

fried sweets around one big round on on which there is the text: The festival of Ghughutiya

The festival of Ghughutiya, called “Ghughutiya tyar” in the local dialect is celebrated in the Kumaun region of the hilly state of Uttarakhand on the eve of Makar Sankranti (January 14th). Though Makar Sankranti is observed in most of the country with great enthusiasm, by flying kites, taking dips in holy rivers and donating khichdi (a mixture of rice and lentils cooked together), the style of Ghughutiya is unique to Uttarakhand.


Ghughutiya, which is also known as “kale kauwa” (literally translated as black crow) is celebrated by preparing the sweet delicacy “ghughute”. Ghughute are prepared by kneading wheat flour into dough mixing it with jaggery and using milk or ghee according to one’s capacity.
The dough is then used to make different small shapes like a pomegranate flower, a sword, a spiral, damaru (a small two sided drum) etc. some amount of dough is flattened into thick cakes and shapes like rhombuses are cut from them. These shapes are then deep fried in ghee/oil till their colour changes to brown.

These shapes are then strung into a thread to form a garland which also includes orange, popcorns etc, and these garlands are worn by young children enthusiastically the next day. Early morning the next day, children go on their roofs and offer the crows a portion of these delicacies that has been specially set out for the crows. As they offer, they also chant: “Kale kauwa kale, ghughuti mala khale” (O black crow, eat this garland made of ghughute), offering them the different shapes and asking for their blessings with every shape they offer.


There is an interesting legend behind this practice of offering ghughutas to crows. Once upon a time, there was a king who had a minister named Ghughutiya. This minister planned to kill the king and usurp his kingdom. However, a crow warned the king of his minister’s intentions, thus saving the king’s life. The king then punished his minister and ordered his population to prepare sweetmeats and delicacies and offer them to the crow in lieu of the service he had done to the king.

Since then the festival has been celebrated in Kumaon. It is also believed that the offering to crows is indirectly an offering to the departed souls of one’s ancestors. After making the offering to the crows, the children happily wear the garlands around their necks the entire day, munching away happily at bits from it the entire day.¬†

 Artilcle by Sneha Pathak

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