Every year during Makara Sankranti, the otherwise ‘modern’ city dons a
traditional look. The harvest festival brings together joy and happiness to many who celebrate it. Despite the hustle bustle of city life, they do manage to take some time off to bond with family and friends.
For many, it’s that time of the year again when yellu bella (a mix of sesame, dry coconut, groundnut and jaggery) and sugar-candy sculptures are distributed, markets are filled with people doing last-minute shopping for sugarcane, flowers and new clothes.
Raksha Hegde says that she has been buying yellu bella for Sankranti for the past few years.
“Earlier, we used to make it at home. But we hardly find time these days. Now that everything is available in the shops, it has become convenient for working
professionals,” she adds.
But people like Sheetal, still swear by the home-made stuff. “During Sankranti,
I really look forward to home-made food. The shopkeepers will only be looking at making a profit. Preparations begin a week in advance when we start cleaning the house and decorating it with flowers. Buying readymade things will not give it the homely taste asit is not made the way it is done at home,” she says.Ranganath, who celebrates the festival in great fervour, says the festival is all about bonding.
“In the fast-paced life that we live in, we hardly get time to catch up. So this is one time, we make sure we take some time out and catch up with family and friends. We generally spend the day visiting friends and relatives and exchanging pieces of sugarcane, and a mixture of fried sesame, pieces of coconut and peanuts. The significance is that sweetness should prevail in all dealings,” he explains.
For someone like Shankar, who hails from a joint family, the festival has changed over the years but they have tried to modify it in their own way. “During the day, the women of the household sit together and prepare special food for everyone. This not helps us bond but also instills a sense of togetherness.”
Padmavathy, his wife, explains that in the evening, women generally worship
the cow. “Being in the City, one can’t expect to do everything according to traditions. So for this ritual, we generally worship the cows at our milkman’s
place,” she explains.
Makara Sankranti is one of my favourite festivals. We make a sweet called Tilgul which is distributed among the elders in the family. It is very symbolic of Sankranti. The festival is dedicated to the farmers who give us the harvest, without whom we wouldn’t have our grains. I will be away shooting this year but I always make sure I spend time with my family during festivals.”
Radhika Pundit, actress