Thadri essentially means “chilled” in the Sindhi language, it is a day dedicated to Shitala Devi, who is believed to cure smallpox, sores, ghouls, and other diseases.
Origins of the Thadri Festival
Sindhis celebrate Thadri, also called Thadadi, in the Hindu month of Shravan, which usually falls one week after the Rakshabandhan festival. Since the Sindhi civilization is so old, not much is known about its origins, what is clear is that it is a festival dedicated to the goddess Shitala Mata.
When the Mohenjodaro excavations began, a figure of Shitala Mata was found and since then, she has been worshipped on this day. Sindhis believe that by worshipping the goddess, she helps by “cooling” the body to heal and prevent diseases such as measles, smallpox, and chicken pox. To this day, when a child has chickenpox, it is said that he/she has “Mata”. The expression “Mata aa gayi” / “Mata has come” is used in Hindi. Mata is also known as Chandi Mata, who is also known as the goddess Durga in her “Chandi Roop” or Lunar avatar in which she appears furiously to destroy all evil.
The celebration and offering
The Sindhis are a group of people who lived on the banks of the Indus River. Science prevailed alongside religion, like alchemy to say the least. When a child got chickenpox, they thought that the Goddess was angry and had “warmed up” the child’s body. To cool and heal the body they prayed Shitala Devi who would help cure chicken pox. And how does the body cool down? By Praying and eating something cold.
One of the traditions of the Thadri festival is to eat cold food, things that can be prepared a day in advance and can be eaten without heating. In theory, if you have a cold pizza from the night before, it would also work, but there are numerous typical dishes that are usually prepared for this occasion.
Lola – Essential bread for this holiday
Mitho Lolo or Lola is a thick sweet Sindhi flatbread made with wheat flour, sugar and butter. It requires cooking over low heat, it is very thick. Once cooked, it is soaked in Ghee. I personally do not soak it in Ghee, instead just brush over it to keep it “healthy”.
It is a flat bread made with whole wheat flour, onions and coriander. In contrast to the Lola, it is salty, and is not exclusive to Thadri’s holiday.
It is a flat bread made from chickpea flour (besan). It is crunchy and full of flavour and is usually the ideal dish for breakfast. Imagine a hummus flavoured bread.
Daal Pata Phulka
A bread made from lentils. Like Besani, it has a fairly rich lentil flavour and is quite filling.
Fluffy, tender, sour and sweet, a combination of flavours and textures. The Vada is a deep-fried lentil fritter, dipped in creamy whipped yogurt (Dahi) and topped with spicy and sweet chutneys. A refreshing combination!
They are croquettes made with a larger variety of green chilli peppers, coated in chickpea flour, herbs and spices. Chili peppers do not have to be chopped. They go perfect with the Green Chutney.
It is the Sindhi version of curd rice. It is only seasoned with crushed mustard, which helps to ferment the dish and gives it a spicy flavour.
Truth be told, there are a wide variety of dishes that can be prepared. As long as they can be eaten cold, they are all worth it. Most of these dishes are usually breads, since they are easy to prepare, save and when serving, they are accompanied by yogurt and some type of potato or kicha. (fried rice fritter)
If you plan to make some of these dishes, feel free to request a recipe, leave me a comment and I will get back to you. If you find it online, and prepare it, send your photos! I would like to know how it turned out.