Shops across the city have stocked on colourful kites, sweets made of sesame and jaggery, puffed rice and more as the festive spirit is back with full gusto..
We at Pune365 decided to visit the homes of people from the various states of our country to get a glimpse of how they celebrate this day and what preparations are on…
Preetha Kadhir: Pongal is a four day affair for Tamilians. First day is ‘Bhogi Pongal’ where we burn old stuff. Now-a-days burning happens to the bare minimum. The second day is the actual festival of Pongal where we make ‘Sakkarai Pongal’ at home. We offer this sweet ‘Pongal’ along with a curry made of seven or nine vegetables. We thank the Sun God and these items are offered to him. Next day is the ‘Mattu (cow) Pongal’. Since this is a harvest festival, things/equipment that has helped the farmer get a great produce is honored. The horns of the cows are painted, festoons decorate the carts and villages conduct Jallikattu (taming of the bull) and other games. Then the fourth day is ‘Kannum (seeing) Pongal’. Traditionally people along with their families go sightseeing.
Neel Bhargava: On the day of Makar Sankranti, we Biharis, bathe early morning (without which we are not allowed to eat anything). Then we donate some food and other items (as per one’s capabilities) to the Pandits of the temple and also to the under privileged and needy. After that, we indulge in the ‘puja’ for the day. By eating ‘til kut’ (made of sesame seeds and jaggery) we open our fast. The main meal for the day is a combination of ‘chura’ (puffed rice) with curd, milk and jaggery accompanied by a traditional vegetable sider that includes potatoes, carrots, peas and cauliflower. This is majorly the only things that we eat throughout the day. There is no three-course meal on that very day. The best part of the festival is flying kites. The sky is covered with colourful kites. By evening, the ladies of the house start preparing ‘khichdi’ that will be served with mashed potatoes, tomatoes, brinjals and ‘papad’ at night.
Harneet Kaur: Makar Sankranti, or Lohri for us Punjabi’s signifies the last day of winter. Also, a harvest festival, it is celebrated with much fervour, as most of us have ancestors or are currently farmers or land lords. The preparations start from a day prior when ladies start cooking ‘Sarso Da Saag’, ‘Khichdi’ and ‘Kheer’ made of sugarcane juice. These are made a day prior but is meant to be consumed on the next day. These are the only things we eat the entire day of the festival. Apart from going to the Gurudwara in the morning, we indulge in eating the spread and spending time with family. The night calls for a bonfire, which is actually the traditional Lohri. We offer our best harvest to the fire God along with some puffed rice, sesame seed ‘laddo’, jaggery, popcorns and so while going around the fire praying for prosperity and flourished fields. The day ends with dancing out to the favourite Bangra songs, playing a game of cards and eating ‘saag’ and ‘makki di roti’ with loads of ‘gud’ and ‘ghee’.
Arun Kumar: Tusu festival or Tusu Parv is a harvest festival celebrated in rural area of Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. People make idols of Goddess Tusu and worship her. The one-month fair ends on the day of Makar Sankranti with immersion of the idols of Tusu goddess. The ladies dress in bright coloured clothes and carry the bamboo frame decorated with artifacts and clothes, signifying the goddess and proceed to the river singing Tusu songs. Many believe that since it is a harvest festival, young girls also pray for fertility and good husbands. The entire river bank often turns into a place where boys choose their prospects in the community and approach them for their big day.
Shreya Chakraborty: Traditionally people went to banks of the Ganga to bathe and pray tribute to the Sun God, but now we do it at our homes. After the religious ceremonies, we eat ‘Dahi and Chura’ (puffed rice and curd) along with ‘Petha’ (made with rice, coconut and milk). The vibe is very friendly as we have guests coming in to share the sweets and ‘Petha’. At Santiniketan Road at Bolpur in West Bengal, a Poush Mela (fair) is organised which sees a lot of footfalls. We attend that fair almost every year that is colourfully decorated and offers an array of handmade products, food stalls, bags, jewellery that are mostly made by local artisans and the residents.
Dhruvi Trivedi: Uttarayan is like a get-together for the huge Gujarati families for us. The plannings for the day starts before a month. We actually plan how we will spend our days as it is celebrated for an entire week, till 15th of January. Every year you can see different trends grabbing the eyeballs in Gujarat. You will get to experience different types of kites, food and unique accessories. We stand with the shopkeeper while they knit thread (manjha) for us.The food menu is always decided. ‘Til Gud chikki’, ‘Undhiyu Puri’ and ‘Farsaan’ with ‘Jalebi’ are our favourites for the festival. Youngsters start practicing flying kites from the beginning of the month. Ladies of the house start cooking different food items. At night, families and friends get together for a bonfire. Speakers are taken to the terrace, different games are played, Chinese lanterns (before it was not banned by the High Court) lit the sky and mood gets lighter as the night progresses. So basically it is not only festival for us but an occasion to spread happiness, joy and love to all!
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