Not all festivals are about scale and magnificence, some are about depth and significance. Makar Sakranti falls in the latter category. When the Sun marks the commencement of Spring- the nation wakes up to the new harvest season and move towards warmer days. The kites hover over the sky The sweetness of jaggery and til ((Sesame seeds) paati along with homemade khichdi showcases a romance of soul and nature’s generosity that touches one at all levels.
Why Khichdi? We say why not?
Talking about Makar Sakranti without khichdi is like thinking Holi without colours. Khichdi is so prominent in the festival that Makar Sakranti is referred to as “Khichdi Sankranti” in some parts of the country. Without any doubt, Khichdi is uniquely Indian and is a dish blend and binds. Who amongst us has not enjoyed the fragrance of ghee over hot-served khichdi along with the kurkura papad and chutney?
There is always a story…
Back in the days, it is believed that the Nath Yogis were continuously at war against the Khiljis, and it was taking a toll on their health. It was then that Baba Gorakhnath prepared khichdi by mixing rice, dal, and vegetables to replenish their stamina. Even today, a khichdi is prepared as bhog and offered to the Baba at the Baba Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur on Makar Sakranti.
Nut there is more. According to mythology, the Sun enters the zodiac sign of Makar (Capricorn) on the day of Makar Sankranti. Lord Shani represents the Capricorn zodiac sign and is believed to be fond of khichdi. The powerful Shani is believed to ward off the evil eye and remove obstacles. It is also an endearing celebration of the father and son bond as Lord Sun is the father of Lord Shani.
Diversified yet one
Every state has its way of celebrating Makar Sakranti. In Gujrat and many parts of Maharashtra, there is a fun-filled kite flying event, while in the north, find millions of devotees take a dip in the holy rivers. In Odisha, Makara Chaula, which is made up of freshly harvested uncooked rice, milk, ghee, honey, jaggery, grated coconut fruits, dry fruits, cottage cheese, etc, is enjoyed by friends and family during an informal union. In Assam, where Makar Sakranti is called Bihu, the festival is celebrated with traditional dance and a feast. Besides that, a beautiful bond between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is cherished as a daughter-in-law gives bayana (a token of love with gifts like warm clothes, sweets, and especially the packets of pulses and rice to make khichdi) to her mother-in-law.
That’s our India. And the good part is an atmosphere of joy and revelry is eminent everywhere.
Listen! What doctors say
Makrsakranti marks the change in season, and if we hear from doctors, they say it is important to have light food during any transition in climate as it can keep indigestion issues at bay and immunity levels high. Khichdi is one the most easily digestible food, and therefore, it is always a good idea to have some.
Festivals are all about thanking for what we have, and simultaneously enjoying or discovering a connection with the lord and its creations. Festivals like Makar Sakranti just remind us about such bonds. And we couldn’t be more glad to have it every year.