Makar Sankranti is the harvest festival, celebrated across India with great fanfare. However, the name and the way it is marked varies from state to state
LOHRI & MAGHI
In Punjab, Lohri is celebrated on the eve of Maghi or Makar Sankranti. The festivity is marked by massive bonfire, song and dance. During Lohri, it is a tradition to eat gajak (dry sweet made of sesame seeds and jaggery), sarson da saag (a vegetable dish made from mustard leaves and spices) with makki di roti (breads made from corn flour), groundnuts and jaggery. Another popular delicacy is til rice, which is made by mixing jaggery, sesame seeds and rice. On the day of Maghi, people take bath early and enjoy traditional delicacies like kheer and khichdi. Many light their houses with sesame oil lamps, which supposedly brings prosperity.
In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Uttarayan and Vasi-Uttarayan. It is also known as the festival of kites, as the Gujarat skyline is flooded with kites of various colours and sizes. Gujaratis relish delicacies like undhiyu (baked vegetables) and chikkis (sweet made from sesame seeds, peanuts and jaggery) during the two-day festival
In Tamil Nadu, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Pongal. It is an extensive four-day festival, with four names for each day. On the first day or bhogi, people dump old clothes and belongings, marking end of the old and beginning of the new. Cooking pongal rice is a traditional practice on the main festival day, known as Thai Pongal, which falls on the second day. Apart from decorating the house with beautiful kolams (drawings made using rice flour, chalk and dry colours), people prepare savouries and sweets such as vadai, murukku and payasam. The third day of festival is Maattu Pongal, which is a day to thank the cattle. Livestock are decorated and fed sweet rice. Jallikattu, the controversial wild bull taming contest, is associated with this day. The last day is celebrated as Kaanum Pongal, when people visit their relatives and friends.
KHICHDI OR SAKRAT
In Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Sakrat or Khichdi. The festivity starts early morning when people throng to take customary dip in the rivers and waterbodies, seeking blessings of the sun God. The festival is an occasion to grab some seasonal delicacies like dahi-chura gur (curd, rice flakes and jaggery), and various sweets made from til (sesame seeds) — tilgur, tilwa and maska. One of the most important ingredient of the festival is til, which is used in various forms like the custom of putting it into fire to making various sweets. The festival derives its name from the lip-smacking khichdis (rice cooked with pulses and vegetables), which is served with chokha (mashed vegetables), papad, ghee and achaar.
Til ke ladoo
Ingredients: 500 gm white ,sesame (til); 200 to250 gm jaggery; 1tbsp water; Gheeto grease thebaking tray
Method: Dry roast thesesame. Now heat the jaggery in a heavy pan with a tbsp of water. Add roasted sesame and mix quickly.
Let it cool a bit and then wet your hands with water and shape the mix into small balls