Batashe ki Mala (these are just sugar cubes in a garland) is an integral part of the Holika Dahan (the holy fire that is lit before Rangapanchami or Holi festival). These are quite popular in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. While playing Holi (with Gulaal or Vermilion), batasha-malas are said to ensure cordiality with brother and sister in-laws and extended families.
I don’t enjoy the festival too much, but I do miss the cross cultural food I could savor because of all the friends I made over the years. Happy Holi ( Advent of Spring in India) everyone!