Festival of India – Sankranti
Almost a week ago, on Jan 14th, India celebrated one of the biggest Hindu festival. India is saturated with colorful festivals. However, after Diwali in late October, early November, it slows down a bit and picks back up in full swing when Jan 14th arrives. Perhaps that the reason anticipation runs high for the arrival.
So what is the name of the festival ?
Well it depends on which part of India you are celebrating it.Isn’t that neat? I call it ‘Makar Sankranti’ because that’s what we call in the part of India I grew up. However, if you go to Eastern state of Assam, you will be greeted with the sound of ‘Bihu’.
If you are in West state of Gujrat, you are probably looking forward to kite flying with friends as you celebrate ‘Uttarayan’ .If you are up in Punjab,you can barely wait for ‘Lohiri’ and bonfire. I happen to be in Southern state of Chennai at one time and I loved the taste of ‘Pongal’
Despite of diversity, celebration marks the time sun making a move to the zodiac sign of ‘Makar’ (Capricorn).Though Jan 14th is pretty established date of celebration; it varies from Jan 13th or Jan 15th astrologically speaking. It is also a huge ‘harvest’ festival. Food eaten on this occasion has the significance of new harvest produce. As you can tell from the pictures, different part of the India has different food.
What kind of food ?
It varies region by region .So I will focus on what I grew up eating this day.At our home, we always had ‘Dahi – Chura with Tilkut‘ . ‘Dahi’ is yogurt ,’Chura’ is flattened rice. It comes in different textures. For the record I have found only one kind here in US and not the one which I grew up on. Tilkut hmmmmm ? How do I explain it to you? It is a semi delicate,little flaky flat ,round shaped dry dessert made with sesame seeds(Til) and sugar or jaggery(Gur).
Jaggery is easily available during this time of Sankranti because of harvested sugar canes.. So this is a traditional part of eating of the region I come from .
However, one non-traditional element, which continue to be ‘must have’ for my family in India is ‘Aloo- Gobi Dum’ (Potato and cauliflower curry). The reason being, ‘Dahi-Chura-Tilkut’ is sweet combination of food and our Indian palate craves for something spicy to go with the sweet combo.
Regardless of which part of India you find yourself in, you will be ‘eating’ lavishly on this occasion.