14 Jan 2023

Makar Sankraanti: Tradition, Significance, & Seasonal Foods

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Makar Sankraanti – The festivities continue! 

With the beginning of another New Year, it’s time to indulge in the goodness of festivals and the goodness of traditional foods and festivities.

Each year, on the 14th of January, India welcomes a wave of festive cheer across the country. Somewhere between hues of yellow and the blue sky enlivened with colourful kites, the country celebrates an end and a new beginning with Makar Sankranti – the Harvest Festival.

It marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring and hence holds cultural, social, religious and geographical significance. 

Makar Sankraanti has traditional foods that are cooked specially for the season and festival

The Significance of Makar Sankraanti

In the Vedas, Sankranti deciphers the movement of the Sun from one Rashi (constellation of the zodiac) to the next. Hence, there are 12 Sankrantis in a year. Out of these, the Makar Sankranti also dubbed ‘Poush Sankranti’ is considered the most auspicious and it is one of the few Hindu festivals that is aligned with the solar cycle. Makar Sankranti’s importance isn’t just limited to its religious significance. In fact, the festival also marks the beginning of the harvest season when new crops are worshipped and shared with delight.

Makar sankranti harvest festival is celebrated all across india but with different names and traditions

It heralds a change in season, as from this day the Sun begins its movement from Dakshinayana (South) to Uttarayana (North) hemisphere, marking the official end of Winters. Both a religious occasion and a seasonal observance, the occasion also marks the sun’s transit into Makar Raashi (the Capricorn zodiac sign).

What is also significant about this day is that across our diverse country, it is celebrated differently. In Maharashtra, for instance, people celebrate by flying kites while in Tamil Nadu, they take part in a special puja called ‘Pongal’. People also offer prayers to Sun God, take holy dips in rivers and exchange gifts with family and friends on this day.

Traditional Makar Sakraanti Foods

One of the beautiful things about our festivals is the range of traditional foods we get to eat and enjoy. Feasting and getting together with loved ones is always a delight. A variety of traditional sweets and snacks are prepared on this day and exchanged among relatives and friends. These traditional foods come with a range of health benefits that our grandparents have spoken about for ages. Their stories are often concentrated around these foods and how food would bring together people from all backgrounds. We give you an insight into some of these traditional foods that are enjoyed on Makar Sankranti:

Til Laddoo

Til Laddoo

Made with sesame seeds and jaggery, these bite-sized treats provide warmth to the body and keep us warm in winter. Needless to say, they are delicious in taste. A popular Maharashtrian phrase that goes like ’til-gul ghyaa, aani goad-goad bolaa’, meaning ‘eat til and jaggery and speak well’ is used while serving these Til Laddoos. Sesame is a good source of fibre and supports healthy bones. It also happens to be a great source of Vitamin B.

Gajak or Patti

Til Patti, Gajak is a relished winter delicacy. Bars made from peanuts, dry fruits, sesame seeds, jaggery etc

Made using just jaggery and peanuts, this rich and brittle sweet is quite popular during winter and a household favourite. Peanuts are a very good source of protein. They promote healthy skin, vision, and bones. They are rich sources of nutrients and are delicious at the same time.

Pinni

made from besan (gram flour), or atta (whole wheat flour) or even multi grains. Small energy balls made with flour, sugar, nuts and dry fruits etc

Pinni is a flavorful sweet coming all the way from Punjab. Loaded with ghee and dry fruits, these bite-sized laddoos have a base of wheat flour and sugar/jaggery. They are a perfect snack during winter as they keep the body warm and increase the body’s immunity against diseases.

There are many concurrent harvest festivals of this season, such as Lohri, Makar Sankraanti, Magh Bihu or Pongal. All of these festivals symbolize India’s unity in diversity and are the carriers of our culture. We hope that these festivals bind fellow citizens in bonds of love and harmony. Milkbaskt Grocery Shopping App can bring you all decor, cooking, and pooja essentials for all your festive needs throughout India!

Which harvest festival have you grown up celebrating? What are your traditions? Share with us in the comments below!

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