An Indian thanksgiving

Jan 14, 2013, 10:05 IST | Kartiki Nitin Lawate

While the country celebrates Makar Sankranti today, The Guide tells you the significance of the day and how the occasion is celebrated

Today marks Makar Sankranti, a major harvest festival offering thanksgiving for a good harvest which is celebrated in various parts of India. Sankranti refers to a transmigration of the Sun from one zodiac sign in Indian astrology to another. On this day, you can buy kites on stalls at Laxmi Road as well as Kothrud and other areas in the city.

Kite flying is a common activity during Sankranti. Pic/ Sameer Markande

It’s also an occasion to buy sweets from famous shops such as Chitale Sweet Shop or Kaka Halwai. On this auspicious day people make Rangolis in front of their house and married women pray to the Sun god and make special offerings in a small mud pot.

Makar Van in which auspicious things are kept 

As per tradition, Maharashtrians wear black clothes because they consider black sesame as auspicious. Girls wear beautiful black dresses, saris and ornaments while boys can opt for a black kurta.

Kite flying is also a major Sankranti tradition. In Gujarat, the celebrations are even grander. People offer thousands of colourful oblations to the Sun in the form of beautiful kites. The act stands as a metaphor for reaching out to the Sun god. In the rural and coastal areas, cockfights are held.

It is also an occasion to worship and pay respect to the goddess of knowledge Saraswati. No celebrations are considered complete unless special preparations are served among friends, family and relatives. Read on to find some recipes of mouth-watering dishes that can be easily prepared on Makar Sakranti.

Til ladoo
2 cups Til / sesame seeds
1 cup groundnuts
2.5 cup Jaggery

> Dry roasted sesame seeds / Til. Allow them to cool down.
> Dry roast groundnuts separately. After they cool remove their skin off.
> Grate or powder the jaggery.
> Grind the sesame seeds to coarse powder in a mixer.
> Then grind groundnuts separately into powder in a mixer.
> Combine sesame seeds powder, groundnut powder and jaggery. All together grind this mixture in a mixer till they are well combined.
> When you grind this mixture in a mixer, it becomes little oily which helps in binding a ladoo.
> Make small ladoos and store in airtight container.

Til Roti
4 tbsp whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)
1 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp plain flour (maida)
1 1/4 tbsp sesame seeds (til)
a pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp jaggery
1 tsp black cardamom (badi elaichi) seeds
Oil for cooking 

> Combine til and jaggery in a bowl, add some rice flour in it and then knead into soft dough, using enough water.
> Divide the dough into four equal portions and roll out each portion into a circle of using the flour for rolling.
> Heat a pan and cook each roti, using little oil, till golden brown spots appear on both the sides. 

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