India is the land of varied festivals, flavours and celebrations. To mark the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days, Makar Sankranti is celebrated on January 14.
It is one of the very few Hindu festivals celebrated according to the solar calendar, as most of the festivals are observed in accordance to the lunar calendar. Sankranti refers to the movement of the sun from zodiac sign to another. The sun enters Makar or Capricorn.
Characteristic food items are representative of every festival in the country. For Makar Sankranti, there is a sleuth of delicacies that Indians gear up to make and taste.
Nolen Gurer Payesh
The sweet dish from West Bengal is a kheer or pudding made up of rice and a special variety of date palm jaggery.
Pithe (or Pitha) is rice cake and is eaten as a crepe with sweet or salty filling inside in every household in West Bengal and especially during Makar Sankranti.
These laddoos are made with sesame seeds and jaggery. One can also add grated ginger or peanuts to it.
Made with sliced eggplant and gram powder, this side dish is best served with khichdi.
A traditional Bihari recipe, laai is made with jaggery, peanuts and puffed rice.
A nutritional mixture of rice, green moong dal, desi ghee, spices and a lot of green veggies, Khichdi is best served with curd and baigan pakora.
The snack dish with sesame seeds or peanuts stacked with jaggery is popular across states.
The temptation of having jaggery-filled paratha is too hard to resist. This is very popular in Maharashtra households.
Originating in Morena, gajak is a favourite treat of many. It is made of peanuts, sesame seeds and jaggery. What one can guarantee is that Makar Sankranti has the most number of delicacies reserved for it. Also, jaggery makes up the taste of the festival.