Why Kashmiri Pandits Spin Cotton And Prepare Roth For This Festival

A lowdown on the traditions and delicacies associated with Pann, a Kashmiri Pandit festival that coincides with Ganesh Chaturthi.

Anchal Pandita

On the day Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with much fervour in Maharashtra and the southern states of India, is another little-known Kashmiri festival called Pann. Running Safapore has meant reconnecting with my heritage and here I share the delicious details of Pann with great excitement.

The Kashmiri festival of Pann

Celebrated by Kashmiri pandits, Pann is associated with the spinning of newly produced cotton and worshipping goddess Beeb Garaz maej (maej is mother in Kashmiri). Beeb Garaz maej is also considered the local agricultural goddess and is symbolized by a pot.

The festival is a day of bounty and to mark this, Roth (a Kashmiri sweet bread) is prepared by families and offered to Beeb Garaz maej.

Pann’s cotton-spinning tradition

It is said that our ancestors wanted the girls of the family to be independent and encouraged their daughters to make thread or “Pann” from a cotton ball and sell it in the market. Her first earning is considered to bring prosperity and spent on getting the material for making Roth which is then offered to the goddess.

The pot is symbolic of a bountiful harvest as the celebrations involve offering rice, durva and flowers to maej’s pot. There is a katha or re-telling of a story of Beeb Garaz maej that is read out for everyone.

The story involves a daughter’s role in reinstating a flourishing kingdom that was captured by adversaries after her father, the king, disrespects Beeb Garaz maej. The princess and her mother the queen, escape and survive by doing household chores.

When the princess grows up, she watches the puja being offered to Beeb Garaz maej, and gathers wheat from a stable, and sugar and ghee to make Roth for the goddess. The goddess, pleased by her devotion, restores the kingdom. When the family unites to partake in the prasad, they are thrilled to see that the Roths offered by the daughter, have turned to gold. The highlight of the Pann festival is clearly Roth.

Here’s an easy Kashmiri Roth recipe you can follow:

Kashmiri Roth Recipe

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Roth is made by kneading flour with ghee, sugar, water and cardamom.

  • Add about 1 ½ cups of sugar to 4 cups of wheat flour.
  • Add 6 to 8 tablespoons of ghee to it.
  • Make sure the dough is tough and not too soft.
  • Add the elaichi powder.
  • You can also add chopped nuts to it.
  • Roll it like a thick poori and make patterns on it with a katori or small utensil with sharp edges, usually intersecting circular patterns are made.
  • Roth is traditionally fried in desi ghee.
  • Sprinkle poppy seeds on top of it as soon as you take them out.

Roth is usually distributed among family and friends, so make a big batch. It also makes for a great breakfast or snack with Kashmiri Kahva!

Safapore is a Delhi-based catering service that specializes in traditional Kashmiri cuisine.

Photo: Shutterstock

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