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Jan 14

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, Cultural Adjustment Coach
Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sankraanti Among Kannidigas

There is a saying in Kannada – eLLubella tiMdu oLLeya maatanaaDu (eat sesame seed and jaggery, talk good words)

It is said that doing good deeds during the starting of uttaraayana is very auspicious. The movement of sun from
ellubella - plate of goodies for makara sankranti in Karnataka households.one house to another is called sankraanti. Though in a year, the sun would move 12 times, makara sankraanti is considered as auspicious. During that time the sun would be moving from south to north, as such, it is called as uttaraayana punyakaala. Ayana means path. Uttaraayana means path towards north. Uttara also means auspicious. As such, it may also be referred as auspicious path. This is the time of end of cold season would end and harvest. This would also be celebrated as fair at villages. With good harvest the level of life of the people would increase. As such, this would be called as sankraanti. On this day khichdi would prepared as a special dish. Khichdi is a dish prepared with ghee, moong dal, rice and pepper. On this day milk would be boiled and it would be allowed to overflow, as such it would be called as pongal. Fresh crop like paddy, sugarcane, sesame etc would be brought to home from the field. The same would be donated and then consumed. If at Karnataka, sesame with jaggery would be consumed, at Maharashtra the same would be mixed and made a ball and consumed. Sesame is sweet, bitter, hot and oily. Black, white and red sesame are the three types of sesame found. Scientists say that the white sesame has medium medicinal value.

During this day khichdi would prepared. It is a dish which contains ghee, moong dal, rice, black pepper with other spices. Milk would allowed to boil and overflow in Tamil Nadu. As such, it would be called as pongal.

During this time, the new crop of paddy, sugarcane, and sesame seed would be brought from the field to the house. The same would be donated to priests and then would be consumed. In Karnataka sesame seed would be mixed with jaggery and consumed. Whereas, in Maharashtra a ball of sesame and jaggery would be made and consumed. This would also be called til gol (til = sesame; gol = round or ball). In Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, a kite festival would also be observed. During the same time, people would take bath in the river Ganges and worship sun god. (Karnataka and Tamilnadu are the states of southern India – Maharashtra, Gujarat are the states of Western India – Rajasthan is a state in Northern India.)

This festival would be normally celebrated on January 14th or 15th. If the lunar calendar has got 354 days in a year, the solar calendar has 365 ¼ days. As such, the lunar calendar would add an extra month once in three years.

It is said in the shaastraas that on that day if one performs bath, meditation, donation, homa (offering to fire god), worship, tarpaNa (offering black sesame with water in a ritual manner) and shraaddha (pooja offering to the deceased forefathers), he would get immense returns. It is said in the shaastras that if one takes bath in the sacred river like Ganges, not only the visible dirt would be removed but also the mental dirt. (shaastraas = sacred text).

At Karnataka white sesame, fried groundnut seeds, peanut seets, slightly chopped sugarcane, slightly chopped jaggery with other ingredients would be mixed and called as eLLu (sesame). sugar with milk would boiled and the mix would be put in variety designs of dyes to make sakkare achchu. eLLu, sakkare achchu would be put in a silver or steel tray and distributed along with bananas, sugarcane. Normally, the girls would be distributing amongst their friends, relatives and neighbours. Those who don't have girl children would send the boys to distribute. It would be pleasant to see small children going to houses in the evening wearing new dresses. The newly married girl would be distributing this ingredient with 5 bananas on the first year, 10 bananas on the second year, 15 on the third year, 20 on the fourth and 25 on the fifth year after marriage. On the evening of the day, aarati would be performed on small girl children.

In villages, the bulls, cows and calves would be decorated with colourful buntings and they would be worshipped. they would be fed with coconut, jaggery, husk and other grains. during evening they would be made to jump over the fire. it is believed that by doing so, the fear among the cattle would vanish.

In Tamilnadu, makara sankranti is known as Pongal. The same dish of pongal (kichidi) is consumed, cooked of freshly harvested ingredients. However, in Tamil Nadu, Pongal is celebrated up to four days in villages. Each day of the festival is dedicated to a specific activity, such as cleaning (bhogi), worshiping the sun and farm equipments (surya or thaipongal), worshipping cows (maatupongal) and visiting family, temples and reading literature (kaanumpongal). (more about pongal)

In Kerala this special day is celebrated at Sabarimala as Makara Jyothi or Sabarimala Makaravilakku. A mystical and magical light appears on the top of the mountain behind the Ayyappa temple around sunset. Mostly men visit the temple in Sabarimala to witness this event. Others may watch this spectacle from the comfort of their homes on television. (more about makara joythi)

On the night of sankraanti festival , the worship of god would be done and astrologer would tell about the happening that would take place during the year. as per text, sankraati god would have 3 heads, 2 faces, 5 mouth, 3 eyes, hanging ear and eyebrow, red teeth, long nose, 8 forearms, 2 legs, half male and half female. on the basis of the day, star, the nature of happening during the year would be forecasted.

How to wish Makara Sankranthi in Telugu, Kannada, Marathi?
Telugu: Makara Sankranthi Subhakankshalu
kannaDa = makara sankraantiya shubha aashayagaLu
maraaThi = til gOL ghyaa gOD gOD bOlaa
(take sesame laddoo - ball - tell sweet words)


Related Posts/Sites:  
Hindu Holidays A to Z  
Story of River Ganges submitted by Ajoy    
FAQ – Questions about Pongal the South Indian Thanksgiving Harvest Festival

Pongal- Celebrations noted per day
Day 1 - Bhogi
Day 2-  Thai Pongal 
Day 3 - Maatu Pongal/ Uzhavar Thirunal 
Day 4 - Kaanum Pongal/ Thiruvalluvar Day

Pongal - Kichidi Recipe

Thank you for spending your time on Alaivani.com.



Copyright ©2010 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


6 comments so far...

Re: Sankranti: A Karnataka Perspective

very interesting post jen!

By rajani@eatwritethink on   Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Re: Sankranti: A Karnataka Perspective

Thank you for stopping by and spending your time on the blog, Rajani. We must thank a Facebook friend of mine for this wonderful contribution!!

By admin on   Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Re: Sankranti: A Karnataka Perspective

Great post. When I was in India this January with my husband visiting his family we got to participate in this festival. His parents and us went around to the homes of family friends and exchanged the sweet (hard, sugared little balls). It wasn't homemade and we couldn't eat it because it kept getting passed from hand to hand over and over again. My mother in law translated it as "take the sweet and talk sweet" which is close to what you wrote.

Also, thanks for your trip tips. I think the most useful tip was to follow the women around. When we would visit usually the men would all talk together in the front room and the women would go talk in the kitchen or in another room.

By minnesotameetskarnataka on   Friday, April 02, 2010

Re: Sankranti: A Karnataka Perspective

Hey M-E-K, I was thinking about you and wondering about your trip! thanks for remembering me and coming to my blog!! I am so eager to read your experiences in India. Thanks for sharing your experience here. It may be kind of nice to keep passing the same sweet- instead of getting the fresh and eating at every house! I had such an experience in Chennai for ganesh chathurthi and I had to eat so many laddoos I thought I'd burst!!
I am so eager to read what other tips you took from others and used in India. I am glad something I suggested was useful. What kind of things did you learn from the women?? How long were you in India?
For other readers see M-E-K blog http://minnesotameetskarnataka.wordpress.com/

By admin on   Friday, April 02, 2010

Re: Sankranti: A Karnataka Perspective

Dear Jennifer,
Very well written indeed, and thanks for the interest in Indian festivals. Quite frankly, many may not even bother to observe the intricacies involved in the festivals here. :)
A small note I would like to point out here: In Maharashtra, it is said, tilgul ghya aani god god bola - which means the same thing as kannada. til=seasame, gul=jaggery..so it is tilgul not gol or round. This festival carries a spirit of giving and forgiveness.
So there!

By Sucheta on   Monday, December 03, 2012

Re: Sankranti: A Karnataka Perspective

Thank you Sucheta.. this is an important piece of information :).

By Blog Owner on   Monday, December 03, 2012

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