India is often called the land of festivals; almost all year round we are immersed in celebrations of one festival after another. The upcoming four-five days are particularly considered to be a very auspicious time for the country. The motion of sun going towards South to North is marked by vivid celebrations around India. Lohri in Punjab, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bhogal Bihu in Assam, Poush Sankranti in Bengal and Makar Sankranti in multiple states are all names of harvest festivals that would be celebrated between 13th January 2019 to 14th January 2019. With the celestial transition, we would be welcoming longer and warmer days, which is not only good for the agrarian community, but also great news for people across the country who were dreading the winter woes. One of the common factors about all these harvest festivals is the delicious food that is prepared and served as part of the festivities. Here are some traditional delicacies of Makar Sankranti, Lohri and Pongal you have to try festive season.
Makar Sankranti 2019
Makar Sankranti would be celebrated on 14th and 15th January 2019 in different parts of the country such as Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Bengal and Orissa. People dress up in new clothes and fly beautiful kites. In Allahabad, thousands gather near the banks of Ganga for Maagh Mela, some meditate by the banks of the holy river, while some simply enjoy the fair. In Uttarakhand, there is a unique tradition of making sweetmeats out of sweetened flour (flour and gur) deep-fried in ghee. These sweets are moulded in different unique shapes and fed to black crows. Some of the common Sankranti delicacies are til ka ladoo. In Maharashtra, people also greet each other saying, ‘til-gul ghyaa, aani goad-goad bolaa’, (Translation: eat til and jaggery and speak well) while feeding each other til ladoos. Maharashtrians also prepare toothsome puran polis, sweet flat bread with moong filling. Til chikki, gajak, rewari, are some delicacies enjoyed up North in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh. In Bihar, people enjoy dahi chura, a blend of puffed rice in curd and jaggery, they also relish delicious khichdi made with different spices and veggies and lai a ladoo made of sesame seeds, puffed rice and jaggery. In Bengal’s Poush Sankranti celebrations, dudhi puli, a delicious coconut-jaggery filled rice flour dumpling, pithe puli,patishapta, roshogolla, payesh are some of the signature delicacies. In Gujarat, people prepare delicious undhiyo, a spicy, baked mix of winter vegetables along with an array of til-based delicacies.
Lohri is the harvest festival of Punjab. It is also celebrated with much fanfare in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh. People light up logs of woods into a huge bonfire and sing and dance around it. They also munch on snacks like popcorn, rewari, gajak, chikki and peanuts while enjoying the Lohri festivities and the umpteen lohri folklores and tunes. Later in the day, some also gather for dinner and relish the ever-so-decadent makki ki roti and sarso ka saag.
Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu celebrated on 15th January. Rice plays an important component of Pongal celebrations. One of the most important rituals of Pongal is to let the rice boil until it overflows out of the vessel. This is supposed to signify wealth and prosperity in the coming year. This rice is then eaten by everybody in the family. Pongal is a popular breakfast dish in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Two of the most popular varieties of Pongal prepared during the festivities are Venn Pongal which is a savoury rice dish and Chakkara or Shakarai Pongal which is a sweet dish. Chakkarai Pongal is served as prasadam in temples during Pongal festivities. Made with rice, mung beans, coconut and sweetened with jaggery or white sugar, chakkara pongal is a treat you would not want to miss this festive season.
Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Makar Sankranti, Happy Lohri and Happy Pongal.