It’s that time of the year again with colour everywhere, where the sky is dotted with kites and the floors of every household are adorned with rangoli. The Nawabi city, which is home to different communities from different parts of the country celebrates the festival in an equally myriad cultural forms. Here’s what the city is doing this Sankranthi, more importantly, what’s cooking!
Traditionally, Pongal is celebrated over a period of three days as Bhogi, Sankranti and Kanuma. On day one, family members, particularly children, are showered with the 'Regi Pandu' fruit to ward off evil. A bonfire is lit and the delicacy for the day is Til laddu. Day two or the 'Peddha Pandaga' (Sankranti) is when farmers thank God for their harvest. The porch of the house is decorated with rangoli, and in its midst is a boiling pot of milk, after which womenfolk seek blessings of Goddess Gauramma. Kanuma is the feast day for the entire family.
The first day is celebrated as Bhogi, when old clothes and materials are disposed of by setting them alight, marking the end of the old year and beginning of the new. Sweets like Bobbatlu, Til laddus and Payasam are offered in prayers. The next day, Pongal gives thanks to the Sun God. On the third day, all the ladies of the house offer food to the crows.
The festival is known as Suggi which is celebrated for two days. The first day has a variety of dishes such as Bhajra roti, Bhartha (a curry which includes all vegetables) along with pongal. On the second say a ritual called ‘Ellu Birodhu’, a plate containing fried groundnuts, dry coconut, jaggery and sugarcane is given to the 'muthaidhe' or married woman and other dear ones in the family.
It is a one of the major festivals known as 'Utran' which is celebrated for two days. The first day is Uttarayan and the second day, Vasi-Uttarayan . The first day they fly kites and on the second day special recipies such as Undhiyu (mixed winter vegetable) and chikkis made from til (sesame), peanuts and jaggery are made.
The festival is known as ‘Makar sakrat’. And their speciality are sweets like Ghevar, Til-paati, Gajak and kheer and festive meals known as ‘Sakrat Bhoj. They also fly kites on the occasion.
Bengali Poush Sankranti
In Bengal, the festival is called ‘Poush Sankranti’. Children participate by making a ‘mera meri ghaar’ with bamboo sticks, which is lit later. The menu for the day includes ‘Peethey puli’ which is made from rice, palm jaggery and coconut.
January being the coldest month of the year, huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankranti which is celebrated as 'Lohri' by Punjabis. Sweets, sugarcane, ravadi, lakdi, ghee and rice are thrown in the bonfire and all the relatives of the family gather together and go around the bonfire. The following day is celebrated as 'Maghi' were lamps are lit, sweets like goodke, gajak, ravadi and peanuts are relished and adding the much-essential Punjabi flavour, is the dance form Bhangra.