The year’s first festival is fast approaching and the city is gearing up to celebrate it with excitement and vigour. Makara Sankranti or Pongal is a harvest festival that is typically celebrated with a dish called pongal, sugarcane, dates, kites and a host of other things.
Here’s a look at what defines the festival in Namma Karnataka and why :
(1) SUGARCANE —- Since sugarcane is predominantly grown in Karnataka, it is imperative to celebrate and mark the harvest festival with it. Not only is sugarcane eaten in its raw form, by many, on the festival, it is also relished in the form of a refreshing juice.
(2) RANGOLI —- While most festivals are special for the various rangolis drawn by women, Sankranti is especially characterised by elaborate and colourful patterns that women draw as part of tradition. These rangolis, usually drawn outside homes, are supposed to signify sacred areas that welcome deities.
(3) JUJUBE —- The red-coloured berry, which is also known as the Chinese date, is a must on Sankranti. Known as YELCHI HANNU, in Kannada, this berry is offered to God during the festival, after which it is waved above the heads of children along with coins and sesame seeds to ward off negative energy.
(4) KITES —- The festival, also known as SUGGI in various parts of Karnataka, is celebrated by flying kites from roof-tops. In fact, children and adults also take part in a kite-flying competition during the festival.
(5) SESAME-SEED MIXTURE —- Last, but not the least, no Sankranti is complete without the traditional sesame-seed mixture —- known as ELLU BELLA. It is made by mixing sesame seeds with jiggery pieces, roasted peanuts, diced coconut and sugar candies. This is then distributed among family and friends, accompanied with a saying that means ‘eat this sweet mixture and speak good things.’