When ‘Kaipo chhe! Lapet!’ rant the air, can undhiyu and jalebi be far behind? Gujaratis celebrate Uttarayan by flying kites and relishing traditional delicacies. Other communities too celebrate the day in their own special way. Interestingly, different communities have different scrumptious food items to mark the harvest festival.
While Amdavadis spent the whole day on their terrace flying kites, Punjabis marked the day by celebrating Lohri. Similarly, Pongal was celebrated by Tamilians, Makar Sankranti by Maharashtrians and Kannadigas and Bihu by the Assamese.
Celebrated by: Assamese
A harvest festival in Assam, Bhogali or Magh Bihu is celebrated with a wide variety of food items mainly consisting of rice and til (sesame). It falls on January 13 and 14. “Since it is harvest festival, many items made of fresh vegetables are prepared. Also, on this day we prepare sweet items like rice pitha, sesame pitha and sesame laddoos,” said Bharat Baruah, secretary of Assam Cultural Association. The two-day Bihu will be the last of the Bihu festivals, according to Assamese calendar.
Celebrated by: Punjabis
A wide array of sweets like gajar ka halwa, kheer, jalebis, chikki, pinni and revdi are prepared for Lohri celebrated by Punjabis. It was celebrated on January 12. Describing the celebration at his house, president of Gurudwara Gobind Dham of Thaltej, Jasbir Singh Makhija said, “On that day, delicious khichdi made of dal and rice will be made. Also, we will have various sweets on the platter like gajar ka halwa, kheer and sooji ka halwa.” Parties and Bhangra are part of the festivities.
Celebrated by: Tamilians
The festival shares its name with the sweet dish prepared to celebrate the special day. A sweet dish made of rice, green gram and jaggery, Pongal is prepared in every Tamilian household on this day. A harvest festival in Tamil Nadu, Pongal is celebrated with the harvested rice. “Apart from this, Tamilians also make sweets like sivamunde, sweet chakli and snacks like vada and raw banana pakodas to mark the day,” said V Saroja, executive member of Ahmedabad Tamil Sangam.
Celebrated by: Maharashtrians and Kannadigas
Preparing a variety of chikkis and exchanging sesame and jaggery (til-gud) is one of the important rituals of this special festival. Sesame laddoo, chikkis made of groundnuts and sesame, and puffed rice laddoos are prepared and distributed to married women. Though not many delicacies are prepared on Makar Sankranti, Maharashtrian and Kannadiga women visit friends and relatives to greet them and distribute sesame chikki on the day.