Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, October 20
With the festival upon us, the sugar toy makers in Mishri Bazaar have stated preparing the traditional toys such as “khand de khidaone”. However, a large number of sugar toy makers have adopted some other professions, but a few are still making such toys. These toys are made in the shape of birds and animals by using edible colours and sugar.
“Earlier, we used to make and sell sugar toys all seasons but due to poor demand now prepare these khand de khidaone only in the festival season. The demand is not much, but there are still some customers, who buy only traditional food items,” said Vikas, a shopkeeper in the Mishri market.
Once a popular market in narrow streets near the Golden Temple, it has lost its sheen since the day multinational brands started manufacturing and selling a range of sweets and candies in the market.
However, the mishri, patasa, phullian (sugar-coated rice) are still in demand as these are still being used during several religious and cultural ceremonies. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) gives patasa to devotees as “parshad”, when they offer money at its cash counters. Culturally, patasa is also distributed among community people to celebrate the birth of a baby boy and marriage in the region.
People used to gift sweet toys to children when they visited their married daughters on some special occasion, especially in the festival season. This tradition has changed. Moreover, sweet toys have long been replaced by chocolates and candies.
“Most of the sweet toy makers have shifted to other trades due to poor income. A few are still engaged in this trade. The young generation has several options in packed sweet candies. People are now more health-conscious and they avoid taking sugar and sweet products. But these colourful toys do not have a bad effect on health. We use branded edible colours,” said Rakesh, another shopkeeper.
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