The festival of many flavours

The festival of many flavours

Delicious dishes

Food plays an important role in any festival and the same is the case with Pongal and Makara Sankranti as well.

The two festivals, with a similar theme, are associated with an array of delicious dishes. The piping hot sweet and khara pongals are relished by the members of all communities during this festival — be it Kannadigas, Telgites or Tamilians.

For Kannadigas, Makara Sankranti is held over a period of two days with the first day being Boghi and second day — Sankranti. On the first day, a special chapathi of bajra or jowar is prepared along with a mixed vegetable stew of averekai, beans, carrots and brinjal. “We also prepare payasam and huggi a form of rice item with moong dal and roasted spices like sesame, coriander, dry coconut, jeera and hing,” explains Alaknanda, a lecturer, who hails from North Karnataka.

On the day of Sankranti, sweet preparations like til laddoos, holige and obbattu are made and in the evening; yellu bella, a mixture of sesame seeds and jaggery is exchanged. Says Sunanda Hari, a homemaker, “We prepare chapathi with pumpkin pallya on boghi. Since it’s a harvest festival, bajra or jowar roti is made. On the second day, we exchange sakkare achchu (sugar moulds), sugarcane and yellu bella with everyone. Sesame signifies bitterness and jaggery symbolises sweetness.”
Sesame is used in generous quantity due to the cold weather.

“It keeps one warm and that’s why on the second day, we also have a sesame oil bath. Even the other food items that we consume, like bajra, produce heat in the body,” reveals Alaknanda.
The people of Andhra Pradesh celebrate the festival for three days. “In my grandparents’ place, a kheer of newly harvested rice and a vegetable stew are prepared,” explains Narendra, a researcher, who comes from Vishakapatnam.

“Then fruits, chocolates and gifts are literally showered upon children as it is considered to be highly auspicious,” he adds. On the second and third day, the Telgites worship their ancestors. “Rice and moong dal preparations are also made. Paramannam, a type of payasam is prepared too. We also make various sweets like ariselu, out of rice and jaggery.” On the last day of the festival, non vegetarian items are prepared.

“Those who worship their ancestors on the second day, consume the meat dishes on the third day and those who worship their ancestors on the third day, prepare it on the fourth day.”
Tamilians have the three day festival Pongal during which an array of dishes are prepared. Boghi is the festival on the first day for Tamilians too, like Kannadigas and Telgites.

While some of them prepare pongal on this day itself, most of them prefer to prepare sweet and khara pongal on the second and main day of the festival. “On the first day, we prepare a seven curry kuttu using all the seasonal vegetables, especially the creeper vegetables like pumpkin and averekai. While many like to eat this with sweet pongal, in my family, we eat it with khara pongal,” says Prema Ramprasad, a homemaker.

On the second day, the sweet pongal is prepared in a pot. When the preparation, made with rice, jaggery and milk, boils over, the entire family gathers around the pot and shouts pongal o pongal. “We also do namaskara to the side at which it spills,” says Prema. The third day is ‘mattu pongal’ when cows are worshipped and the women make balls out of coloured rice and pongal and keep them for the birds, as a mark of prayer for their brothers.

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