Makar Sankranti is a Hindu harvest festival which is celebrated every year in the month of Magh, that is around mid January. On this day the sun begins its movement away from the Tropic of Capricorn marking the arrival of spring, following which the days start to become longer and warmer. It is known by different names in different regions of the country such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Maghi in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Makara Sankramana in Karnataka, Uttarayan in Gujarat (also known for the famous kite-flying festival) and Bhogali Bihu in Assam.
There are many special dishes prepared on this occasion. Here is a list of some of the mouth-watering delicacies which mark this celebration:
Ghee Pongal, a south Indian dish, is prepared with rice, black pepper, moong dal, cashew nuts and cumin seeds. A simple, quick and easy to prepare dish can be served as breakfast or lunch.
Ellu Urundai (Sesame Jaggery Balls) or Til-Gur ke laddu, is a sweet dish which is prepared in different forms across India. A health-laden nutty snack, the Sesame and jaggery are “hot” in nature and protect from the chill of the January winter. Sesame seeds are a rich source of copper and have many medicinal properties defined in Ayurveda.
Thengai Poli is a sweet paratha stuffed with coconut and jaggery. A South Indian delicacy, this is served on most festive occasions as a snack or for breakfast.
Pongal 7 Curry Kootu is a mixed vegetable curry made with newly harvested root vegetables and green vegetables and goes well with sweet Pongal.
Sankranti Khichdi is a North Indian dish similar to Pongal, and is prepared with seasonal vegetables and served with plain curd or raita.