Happy Sankranthi to all !

I wanted to write a short note about this festival of ours for the benefit of our kids who may or may not get the opportunity to  witness this festival in all its traditional glory.

Sankranthi marks the transition of the Sun from Dhanu rashi (Sagittarius)  into Makara rashi(Capricorn) on its celestial path. With this the days get longer and also the cold wintry days slowly disappear giving way to spring like weather. So this is the time to celebrate this Harvest Festival. 
Picture courtesy Vijayalakshmi

In our part of the country, we celebrate this festival for three days. Bhogi, Sankranthi and Kanuma. On Bhogi , all the old pots and pans, clothes etc are discarded and the house is dusted and some even give a fresh coat of paint to their houses. Mango thorans are tied to the main doors and beautiful and colorful kolams (muggu) are drawn in the front yard. Also a camp fire is lit to burn away all the unwanted things at home thereby signifying a fresh start of life! In many families, infants and children (usually less than 3-5 years old) are showered with fruit called "Regi Pandlu", that is the Indian jujube fruit. It is believed that doing this would protect the children from evil eye. Sweets in generous quantities are prepared and distributed. It is also a time for families to meet and exchange gifts. On this day, the traditional Pongal is prepared with the newly harvested rice and dal. With the freshly harvested vegetables, a stew is made and relished. 

On the second day, which is celebrated as Makar Sankranthi, everyone wears new clothes and prayers are offered to the Sun God. Also offerings of traditional food are made to ancestors who have passed away. Also cows and oxen are well decorated and taken to every household by 'Haridas' to bestow blessings and also to give them the opportunity to thank the cows for having served them throughout the year. 

The Kanuma is not as widely celebrated as the first 2 days.

Lastly but very importantly, the kids look forward to this festival as they get to fly their kites in many different colors and patterns. So much planning goes into buying and preparing the kites that it is mind boggling to imagine! Hey kids, play safe!

Naivedyam for Today - Sweet Pongal , Ven Pongal and Pumpkin Gojju.

Shall write about the Pumpkin Gojju in a later post. Here is the recipe for Ven Pongal

Ingredients - 

Rice 1.5 cups
Moong Dal (Pesara pappu) 1 cup
Pepper corns 7-8
Cashews 3 Tbsp
Ghee 1 Tbsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1 tsp
Hing /Inguva 1/4 tsp
Salt as per taste

Method Of Preparation - 

In a heated pan, add 1/2 tablespoon of ghee and fry the cashews and the pepper corns.

In the same mix add moong dal and fry till the moong dal gives out a nice aroma and the color changes slightly.

Wash rice separately and add turmeric, hing, jeera, salt and about 3-4 cups of water. To this add the fried moong dal mix.

I put it in a rice cooker and it was ready in 27 min. Alternatively, pressure cook the whole mixture and add the remaining ghee (about 1/2 Tbsp or more if preferred) after it is cooked.

Note - Optionally a seasoning of mustard seeds and curry leaves (in loads of ghee!) can be added in the end. 

Preparation time - 12-15 min + cooking time 27 min
Serves 3-4 Adults

Posted by Harini on Thursday, January 13, 2011


  1. Satya Says:
  2. nice writeup....happy pongal to you and your family


    Super Yummy Recipes

  3. Priya Suresh Says:
  4. Happy pongal wishes to u and ur family...Beautiful writeup..

  5. Vaishali Says:
  6. Dear Harini-Jaya, A very happy Pongal to you and your family. The food looks amazing, and thanks for the very informative writeup.

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