Being away from home we aren’t able to do much for the festival or celebrate it with much grandeur, however we celebrate it with atmost devotion and do as much as we can here in Abu Dhabi.Naveena SivaPrasad
A LITTLE BACKGROUND ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
Makar Sankrant/Pongal/Lohri also known as Bhogi, Magar Jyoti, Bhogali Bihu was celebrated all over India on 14/15 January. It is the celebration which marks the beginning of the summer solstice, with days gradually getting longer and warmer in India.
This festival marks the beginning of the capricorn zodiac sign from the sagittarius sign. According to Hindu mythology, Makar Sankrant was the day Lord Vishnu ended the terror of the demons by killing them and buring their heads. Like Diwali, this festival too identifies a period of enlightenment, spiritual cleansing, peace, prosperity, happiness, etc. among others.
THE FESTIVAL AS CELEBRATED IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF INDIA
This festival is also commonly known as the kite flying festival too in some parts of India. Throughout India, you’ll find a lot of people out in the open, on their rooftops, terraces, etc. flying millions of kites of different colours, sizes, shapes and most handmade. They all have friendly kite flying fights, which is quite interesting and fun.
In some other parts of India, the day generally begins with a traditional morning puja ceremony, followed by the exchange of til-gul which are ladoos made with sesame seeds, jaggery and oil/ghee. They also prepare a variety of other dishes using sesame seeds.
In South India, they celebrate Pongal which is mainly a rural festival for over 4 days of the harvesting season.
In the North, especially places like Punjab, Delhi, etc. they celebrate Lohri.
A NRIs celebration of the festival
Normally, a married couple has to go to the girls place for this festival. However, being away from India we generally first clean our houses and prep for springtime. We then have a puja for our loved ones who are no longer with us and later we cook and eat for ourselves.
The festival we celebrate is actually as a respect to the Sun God and it is also a harvest festival of rice in South India.
FOODS PREPARED BY NAVEENA FOR THE FESTIVAL
All the food we prepare on this day is without onion or garlic.
Description of the thali from the white dessert clockwise:
Kheer– made of rice and milk.
Indian broad beans and brinjal fry with a tadka of methi/fenugreek seeds.
Potato fry- made by frying potatoes in oil with chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt for flavouring.
Dal– Moong dal tadka
Rasam- basic rasam recipe with tamarind and spices
Papad-Traditional one made of sesame seeds (til)
Buri- Traditional sweet made with a coconut filling.
Wade- spicy wada made with urad dal and rawa
White rice (center)
We also make a coconut curd chutney with grated coconut, green chillies, water, curd and this is tempered with mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and dry red chillies.
ABOUT THE GUEST BLOGGER
Naveena SivaPrasad was born in Odisha, brought up in Goa, married in Andhra Pradesh and currently living in Abu Dhabi with her husband. She is a pharmacist by profession who loves to cook and explore new foods from time to time. She is an amazing mehandi artist too. You can check out her work on Instagram.
HAPPY MAKAR SANKRANT!