Wishing you all a Happy Shankranti!!!
I can’t remember all the rituals and stories and I have a habit of calling mom on each one. Just a reason to catch up and understand the culture and some times on the stories. This time I had to speak to grandma to get more stories 😉
Jan starts with a new set of Hindu festival. Makara Shankranti. Even though hindus follow lunar calendar, this is one festival that follows sun position. Basically this means sun transitions to Makara meaning Capricorn sign. The festival always falls on 14th of Jan. This begins the journey of sun in the northward direction. This also marks the beginning season for harvesting. Scientifically the warmer days are supposed to start from this day onwards.
The festival is celebrated in various different ways in India. The harvesting season is welcomed in different cultures in different ways. In some parts they have a tradition to fly kites. Lots of yummy sweet dishes are prepared in some parts. In assam, it is Bihu. In southern states of india, a traditional pongal is cooked. In gujrath, the sky is covered with kites. It is a festival of kite. In punjab a festival of lohri is celebrated.
In my home the kids are given Bogi Pallu which is a mixture of sesame seeds, peanuts, jaggery or sugar cubes (small ones), chickpeas.
The same mixture is also distributed to few families as part of tradition along with a fruit and sugarcane. As kids we loved eating sugarcane and sugar candies that came along from different house holds. Sugar candies were made in different shapes and colors and would be attraction for kids.
Festival food – I have always seen mom and grandma make pongal. Pongal is traditionally cooked in a new earthen pot. Pongal is like a porridge made with rice and lentil ( moong dal). They make sweet version with jaggery version known as sweet pongal and savory version known as khara or uppu pongal. It is accompanied with a tamrind and jaggery dipping. The warm pongal on a cold winter day is comfort food. My grandma makes more varieties of pongal and mostly cooked in milk. She calls is Pallu pongal as base and uses that to make variations. This is accompanied with freshly harvested vegetables that are cooked in a tamarind and spice mixture. They also traditionally make obaatu which is another sweet dish. Very yummy as well. Some folks refer that as pooran poli.
The morning of Shankranti every one cleans the front of their house. They believe this is done for welcoming goddess Lakshmi. In some parts of the country they get fresh cow dung and use that for cleaning.
Every one after bath worships the Sun and goddess Lakshmi. They pray to the god’s to give them food and grain and keep their blessings on the family. Families wear new clothes symbolizing a new start. The variations food is then prepared and offered to god before prasadam(offerings) is consumed.
I perform the festivals in a smaller scale and less lavish. I make simple savory pongal and sweet pongal and everyone in the family pray to god for good health. This time mom sent the sugar candy and a good friend got them for me. I made the mixture of chickpeas, coconut, sugar, coconut and peanuts to distribute among few with sugar candy. I will update the story with new pictures I can share after the festival.
I am hoping these stories are inspiring to my friends and my family and wishing you all a great health and happiness!
This is visual yellu and sugar candy for all my family and friends.
Happy Shankranti again!