Celebrating Pongal ~ Makar Sankranti !

                     The month of January marks the beginning of yet another year of joyful festivities. The first month of the New Year is known for its Harvest Festivals in India. Though different regions or states in the country celebrate the Harvest season in the name of Lohri, Pongal or Makar Sankranti, the essence of the celebration is the same. With January coming to an end, its time to look back at how these festivities are celebrated and I think its apt that we know about these festivals from the folks who are at the midst of it. And so to share their experience and give us details on the first guest blog post of Food N Travel Diaries is Krithika and Sakhi

Let’s begin with Krithika’s experience of celebrating Pongal !

Celebrating Pongal  by Krithika Sekaran !

Change is the only constant, isnt it? As much as that is true of life, it’s very much the order of the day with seasons and the corresponding festivals. For me the happiest time of the year is the phase between Navratri and Pongal because you have festivals toppling one over the other, you have the festive cheer in the air, shopping carnivals and generally everyone seems pretty much happier!

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                     Pongal marks the change of season from winter towards spring, of the Sun’s movement from Dakshinayan to Uttarayan. Hindu festivals and rituals follow the Lunar calendar for the most part. Sankranti/Pongal is one festival where we pay regards to the Sun God, a thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest, because as much as the importance of water for the soil, a clear Sun is just as important.
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                      My mother grew up in a village and has had the privilege of celebrating this festival in the best and most rustic way possible, close to roots as we call it. All the farmers would simply drop a small share of their harvest at our home, the ladies of the house would prepare food in huge cauldrons in an open kitchen using the same produce and serve it back to those very farmers and their families the next day. The most important food preparation on this day coincides with the name of the festival – Pongal. New jaggery is bought and Sweet Pongal is prepared, along with the other festive accompaniments of crispy vadas, fruits, sugarcane and anything else one wishes to prepare. The almanac prescribes a specific time for preparing and offering the Pongal to the Sun God, and this changes every year.
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In this fast moving world and in the age of technology, these festivals and the food associated with them are what keep us united, grounded and bound to our roots.
 Who is Krithika Sekaran ?

 I am a Recipe preserver and innovator. I view the world through my lenses including the ones I wear ! For me food and festivals are a means of connection to our roots and to our true identity.

Here are my Social handles:

And now Sakhi’s experience of celebrating Makar Sankranti !

Celebrating Makar Sankranti by Sakhi Ravoor !

Harvest Festivals are the most colourful festivals according to me..!!  Fresh Crop,  New dresses,  Big and Colourful  Rangolis (Muggulu) with small dry cow dung cakes (Gobbemmalu), and decorated with Marie gold Flower and with few Incense sticks and yummy yummy Sweets and Savouries and a lot more in our houses..!!

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Every year this festival falls on same day as we follow the Solar calendar, whereas all other festivals in South India are celebrated according to the Lunar Calendar !! Sankranti is celebrated for  three days and fourth day would be mainly for non vegetarians!! Bhogi, Makar Sankranti and Kanuma are major days, and in some parts of Telugu states –  Telangana and Andhra, Mukkanuma is also celebrated.

Bhogi is the “ Bonfire day” called as “Bhogi Mantalu”! Below is a representation sourced from Google

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                        On this day we burn all the old wooden articles and celebrate by singing songs and putting Rangolis and we eat snacks like Jantikalu ( fryum), Borugula Unda (sweet made out of Jaggery and puffed Rice) and Payasam (Kheer). On the same day evening,  Bhogi Pallu is celebrated. These are the regi pallu with petals of flower and coins of money, will be put on the heads of Children generally less than 5 years of age to ward off evil eyes !

                     And On Sankranti Day, it is believed that the sun enters the Makara Rashi (Capricorn Zodiac Sign). Special prayers are held in the morning and a new Earthen Pot is decorated  to cook fresh harvested rice with cow milk and Jaggery which then is allowed to overflow (Pongu) , the significance of which is believed that  it leads to a life overflowing with success and longevity!! Sweet and Savoury Pongal are the main varieties of food cooked that day along with Sajja Rottelu or Pearl Millet !

 Haridasu is the special attraction during Sankranti time. Its a tradition where Haridasu comes to every house singing Lord Vishnu (Hari) Songs with completely groomed bullock and people offer him with whatever they can thinking Hari himself has come to their house. In some places on Sankranti day, Bullock races or Rooster fights are organized.

Kanuma is the third day of Sankranti Saga, where in some regions of Andhra and Telengana have a Non-Vegetarian Feast to celebrate while some make offerings of traditional food to their ancestors and celebrate the Fourth day which is Mukkanuma with a Non-Veg Feast ! Overall Sankranti is the festival of everything being fresh and new!

Who is Sakhi Ravoor ?

       I am an Engineer by education, Corporate Yoga trainer and Yoga therapist by Profession! Love for food made me a self taught cook, Recipe Developer, a reviewer and over a period of time a Food Blogger, a Photographer and Food Stylist!

Here are my Social handles:

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