On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, we spoke to a few people from across the country, and they shared their rituals, memories, and stories related to the festival. Check out these people celebrating Makar Sankranti below!
The harvest festival of India – Makar Sankranti, is a festival dedicated to the sun. It is believed that the festival brings an end to the winters. With various names such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Pedda Pandaga in Telangana, and more, Makar Sankranti has always been a festival where the community bond over fun activities and food. Hence, we attempted to bring here a few people celebrating Makar Sankranti who talked about their families, rituals from their regions, and love for the festival. Read about all of them here!
Sakshi Bohra, Uttarakhand
On the day of Ghughutiya (Makar Sankranti), we offer Khichadi (a mixture of pulses and rice) in charity, take a ceremonial dip in holy rivers, participate in the Uttarayani fairs and celebrate the festival of Ghughutia or Kale Kauva (black crow). We also make sweetmeats out of sweetened flour, (flour and gudh) deep fried in Ghee and shape them like drums. They are strung together and worn as necklaces in the middle of which oranges are fixed.
Early in the morning, children wear this necklace and sing “Kale Kauva” to attract crows and other birds and offer them portions of this necklace, as a token of welcome for all the migratory birds who are now coming back after their winter sojourn in the plains. The children allure the crows and other birds with the following song: Kale Kale (Come dear crow), bhol bate aile bor puwa (come daily you will enjoy eating bara and puwa). And, that’s how we celebrate this festival.
Aishwarya Srivastava, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
As someone from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, I have seen a great deal of passion and emotion in people on Makar Sankranti. People brave the winter chill and take a holy dip in Ganga. Also known as ‘Khichdi’ to all of us, we take bath first to devour a sweet novelty of laddoos made from til (sesame) and gud (jaggery). We also distribute khichdi (a dish of pulses and rice) to everyone. Since we cook dal, rice, veggie (optional) along with essential spices in one pot, we also believe that it is a symbol of unity. The festival is incomplete without jaggery. Jaggery also symbolizes sweetness among relations.
Now I live in Bangalore. Although the zeal of the festival remains the same, the rituals differ. A sweet pudding made of milk, rice, and sugar called Payasam is prepared and enjoyed. Also, I learned something called ‘Ellu Birodhu’, which involves visiting near and dear ones with Sankranti offerings on a plate and exchanging the same with other families. The plate consists of Ellu (white sesame seeds) mixed with peanuts, dried coconut & jaggery. Other traditions remain more or less the same. While moving from the North to the South of India, I really thought the culture would vastly change, but to my absolute surprise, the festivals are celebrated with equal flavour. Just the rituals are a bit different, which honestly increases the energy surrounding the festival.
Ankita Patel, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh
The natives of Madhya Pradesh celebrate this festival with full joy.
We usually call it ‘Khichdi’. I remember my childhood days when we used to be very excited about this festival. Many sweets and laddoos made up of jaggary were used to be prepared, and the first thing we used to do was to take a bath in the river. That was a mere point of excitement.
Then, we used to go to ‘Melas’ to bring back our favourite toys. Asking for money from our grandparents for the Mela to coming back, our peak of happiness used to be the same. It was not casual in our region to fly kites, but we still used to do it for fun. I believe it’s always fun to celebrate festivals, especially if you are an Indian.
Anisha Ugale, Mumbai, Maharashtra
I remember Makar Sankranti as waking up early in the morning before sunrise to have a bath and dress up in new traditional clothes. We celebrate this festival by exchanging til-gud. We also treat each other by saying ’til gul ghya ani goad goad bola’ (Have sweet and talk sweet).
Apart from this, there are a few delicacies that we admire during this festival and these are Tilgul vadi, Peanut chikki, Puran poli and more.
Payal Chelani, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
I wake up early in the morning on the day of the festival. Before Sunrise, I take a shower and put on traditional clothes. After getting ready, I worship the rising sun by offering water and flowers with Gayatri Mantra. The major thing is that I, along with my family, fly different kinds of colourful kites with great enthusiasm.
The festival never gets completed without eating yummy Til ke laddoo, prepared with jaggery, peanuts, dry fruits, sesame seeds, and ghee. We also eat Til Chikki, Coconut Chikki, Rice, Khichdi, Kheer, and much more!