2 months ago

Hawai Mithai: an inseparable part of childhood nostalgia

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Cotton Candy, colloquially known as 'Hawai Mithai, is one of the most common sights on any festive occasion in Bangladesh. From carnivals and fairs to university campuses, cotton candy is ubiquitous. However, recently, it has been way less prevalent than it used to be due to the advent of many other snack items.

In Bangla, it is known as Hawai Mithai since it immediately disappears in one's mouth after devouring, something quite similar to air. 

An extremely sweet taste engulfs one's taste buds afterwards, although the snack is never a good option if one is hungry because it can, at best, satisfy the sweet tooth for some time. Even a decade ago, Bangladeshi kids in rural areas considered it a delicacy they could only get their hands on after a nagging session with their parents.

Almost everyone in Bangladesh between the ages of 40 and onwards fondly remembers cotton candy, which was available for one paisa in the past. 

Simply melting the sugar over heat and pulverising it in a hand-turned 'Jata,' 'Hawai Mithai' is quickly prepared. This confection used to be prepared in a variety of hues, including red, pink, yellow, purple, and green.

Due to the chemicals they contain, these colours are no longer used. The only colour of this sweet other than white is that of sugar. 'Hawaii Mithai' is common, especially at village fairs. 'Hawaii Mithai' vendors can be spotted in villages virtually all year long.

Despite having a presence in the urban areas of Bangladesh, the sweetmeat did not have as much allure as in the rural areas. Even to this day, Hawaii Mithai' can still be found on many public University campuses as well as on the premises of schools, colleges, and other educational institutions, and they are sold aplenty whenever the vendors come with cotton candy in those places, as it is normally not a very common sight.

'Hawai Mithai, or cotton candy, is one of the signature snack items of Bangladesh, which has its presence as well as heritage mixed with the rustic allure of rural Bengal; hence, it would be saddening to see the sweetmeat gradually going extinct, given the number of sweet memories it has given to countless people in Bangladesh.

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