It's time to adorn the sky with kites in vibrant hues of pink, yellow and red. It's time to bid goodbye to bone-chilling wintery days and welcome the warmer days that are to come. Yes, you guessed it, it is time for one of the biggest festival of the country - Makar Sankranti. This year, Makar Sankranti falls on 14th January, in some part of the country it would be celebrated on 15th January 2019. Astrologically, Makar Sankranti celebrates Sun's transition in Capricorn (also called Makar in Sanskrit), which marks the advent of longer days with ample sunshine for crops. The harvest festival is very important for an agricultural country like India. This is why Makar Sankranti is celebrated across the country, with several local and region-specific traditions of course. Like all Indian festivals, food plays a major role in Makar Sankranti festivities as well. From ghee-laden desserts like chikki and gajak to toothsome savouries like khichdi, the eclectic range of Makar Sankranti deleciacies is a foodie's dream come true.
Here are 6 traditional Makar Sankranti foods that you must try this festive weekend.
1. Til Ladoo
Til ladoo is a sumptuous Sankranti staple. These bite-sized ladoos made with warming sesame seeds and jaggery are a treat to the soul. Both sesame and jaggery are an important part of Sankranti celebrations. So much so that Maharashtrians often 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.
2. Puran Poli
Another Maharashtrian delicacy that makes Makar Sankranti one of our most favourite festivals is puran poli,which is a sweet flatbread stuffed with sweet and crumbly moong-based filling. The famous breakfast dish is also prepared during Diwali and Naraka Chaturdashi celebrations.
3. Makara Chaula
Makara chaula is a delicious blend of fresh harvested rice, jaggery, milk, chhena, banana, and sugarcane. It is prepared in almost every Odia household during Sankranti. Once the mixture is offered to God, it is then distributed to everybody.
Moong beans cooked with rice and a pool of rustic spices, khichdiis more than just a comfort food for Indians. People in Bihar make delicious khichdi and enjoy it with a generous dollop of ghee on Sankranti too. It is often teamed with fried veggies and chutney for a wholesome meal.
Bengalis and their love affair with payesh needs no introduction. Payesh is a thickened rice and milk pudding flavoured with aromatic spices. It can also be called a close cousin of kheer. Poush Sankranti payesh is extra special, because it is often sweetened with date palm jaggery or khejur gur, which is available only during winter months.
Oodles of ghee, wheat flour, jaggery and almonds, pinni is one indulgent winter treat from Punjab, which is prepared widely during Lohri and Sankranti celebrations. This bite-sized sweetmeat is so densely packed with ghee and nuts that it is also traditionally known to offer protection from various winter-related ailments.
Did we miss out on your favourite Sankranti delicacy? Do let us know in the comments section below.