Festive Kuswar Tradition

December 21, 2023

India, a land of diverse cultures and traditions, witnesses a mix of festivals celebrated with unique customs and delectable foods. Among these, the Goan and Mangalorean Catholics have a heartwarming tradition of preparing and sharing Kuswar during the Christmas season. This culinary celebration is not merely about the flavorsome treats but embodies the spirit of exchanging love and happiness within families, neighbors, and relatives.

In the echoes of my childhood, I recall the week-long ritual of Kuswar preparation in our home. The festivities commenced with the crafting of Rice Laadu and Apa, followed by an array of delectable delights such as

1. Neuero or Neuries - Puffs stuffed with plums, nuts, fried theel (sesame), and sugar.
2. Kidyos - Curly concoctions dipped in sugar treacle
3. Tukdi (Diamond Cuts) - Simple salted or sweetened snacks.
4. Theel Laadus and Golios - Additional items commonly found in kuswar.
5. Chakkulis - It is a type of deep-fried spiral-shaped snack made from rice flour, black gram (urad dal) flour, and various spices.
6. Karakaddi - ii a deep-fried snack known for its crispy texture and a spiced filling of roasted gram, grated coconut, sesame seeds, and aromatic spices.
7. Roce Kokkisam – Mild sweet made from a blend of rice flour and coconut milk.

Each item held a special place in the lineup, contributing to a symphony of aromas and tastes that defined the Christmas season for us. The undertaking was no small feat, but the collaborative efforts of family members transformed the kitchen into a hub of tradition. It was not merely about preparing food; it was about weaving memories and strengthening familial bonds. The final result was not just a platter of treats but a manifestation of shared labor and love.

Once the Kuswar ensemble was complete, the tradition extended beyond our household. We enthusiastically distributed these homemade delicacies to neighbors, relatives, and friends. The act of sharing wasn't just a festive gesture; it was a continuation of a time-honored custom that had been passed down through generations. Even in urban settings, the tradition persists, with families opting to make their Kuswar or procuring it from local bakeries.

As time evolved, so did the Kuswar tradition. The addition of homemade fruit cakes and readily available Christmas cakes from bakeries became integral to the festive spread. These contemporary twists, however, seamlessly merged with the traditional Kuswar, accepted and cherished by both the young and old alike.

Now residing in Muscat, my connection to this culinary tradition remains strong. United Pangalites from our native parish have taken a commendable initiative to keep the tradition alive. In collaboration with 13 families, we recently prepared approximately 40 kgs of Kuswar. It was not just a culinary feat but a testament to the resilience of traditions in the face of changing times.

Celebrating Christmas in Muscat took on a unique flavor. Due to diverse holiday schedules, our festive gathering took place on December 1st in a hotel. The joy of the season was shared with attendees through the distribution of Kuswar, and every member received a parcel of these festive delights. Adding an extra layer of excitement, we offered five super packs at Bonanza prices and held a mega pack auction. The enthusiasm and participation, especially from a prominent guest, reflected the enduring support for our cultural endeavors.

In conclusion, Kuswar is more than a culinary tradition; it is a testament to the enduring spirit of togetherness, love, and the preservation of cultural heritage. As we savor each bite of these festive treats, we are not just indulging in flavors but partaking in a rich tradition that binds us to our roots, even across oceans and borders.




By Stany Jovin Menezes, Muscat / Pangla
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Comment on this article

  • L.Janette, Bellore/Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 05 2024

    Nice to see you article looking forward to see some more......... Good Luck!

  • Elroy Saldanha, Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 25 2023

    Well written article mentioning about our tradition. Indeed Christmas and its festivities brings the whole family together. People far and wide travel together to be with their families. you have summarized it well. Looking forward for more such articles about our rich tradition! A much needed info for the present generation.

  • Jossey Saldanha, Raheja Waterfront

    Fri, Dec 22 2023

    Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting ...

  • Michael Machado, Udyavara/Muscat

    Fri, Dec 22 2023

    Nice article Stany, you took me back to my Childwood days. Enjoy the Christmas season 🌲

  • Dolphy, Udupì

    Thu, Dec 21 2023

    Loved reading it Stany . Christmas season is absolutely a magical season . It’s a beautiful write up and you have penned it so well and weaved magic through your words . Wish you and family Happy Christmas .

  • Inas castelino, Kattingeri

    Thu, Dec 21 2023

    Great article Staley, rewinding our childhood days, making merry eating and sharing kuswar during this very festive season, your enthusiasm in writing such articles is inspiring ! Happy holidays.

  • Joylin Saldanha, Mangalore

    Thu, Dec 21 2023

    Very well written article. Enjoyed reading our tradition.

  • Jessy Menezes, Shirva

    Thu, Dec 21 2023

    An enjoyable read for this time of the season!

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