Posted by Madhavi on January 11, 2007
Checkout my Sankranthi special recipes in my other blog here- http://madhusindianrecipes.blogspot.com/2014/01/makara-sankranthi-recipes-sankranthi.html
Sankranti (Telugu: సంక్రాంతి ), is a festival that signifies the beginning of the harvest season for the farmers of India.It is also called ‘Makara Sankranthi’, it is celebrated primarily in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Maharashtra. (above article taken from wikipidea, more info click here….
In Andhra pradesh, my home state we call it “pedda panduga” which means the big festival. It is generally a three day festival, which starts on Jan 13th and goes up to Jan 15th (Sankranthi is one of the few festivals which come on the same day every year). Each day has its own significance.
• The first day being the bhogi panduga
• Second day Sankranthi and
• The third day is Kanuma.
I have a lot of child hood memories associated with this festival. We usually spent this festival at my grand mother’s place in Nellore.
On Bhogi, we use to wake up as early as 4 am in the morning and lightup bhogimantlu (bon fire). Items like old broom sticks, woods and paper are thrown in to the fire. It signifies the destruction of the evil and departure of the poverty. Later we clean the courtyards and sprinkle it with water and cowdung and draw beautiful muggulu (also called rangoli). Then the muggulu are decorated with mariglod flowers on fresh round cow dung balls. Then everyone takes bath and wear new clothes.
Sankranthi, the main day of this three day celebration starts with Lakshmi pooja(Goddess of wealth). Sweet Pongal (made of rice, lentils and Jaggery) is offered as naivedyam (offering) to the god. The cattle, especially cow is also offered prayers.
Other entertaining sights during Sankranthi are Gangireddu (decorated oxen) which are taken from one house to other, they are often see nodding their head, accompanied by their owner who sings songs. People offer them rice and clothes. We also have bommala kolluvu which displays various dolls and toys.
Food plays a very important part in this festival. In Andhra we make ariselu( made of rice and Jaggery), kajjikayalu, jantikalu, puliharam(tamarind rice), garelu, boorelu, laddu and sweet pongal.
Women and kids go to relative’s house and neighboring houses for tambulam (which consists of tamalapakulu, coconut and flowers)
Kanuma, is a festival for farmers. The farmers decorate their cattle and offer prayers. This is a very happy occasion for the farmers because they sell their produce and get money. People visit temples and family gatherings happen.
Cinema is a very popular media in our Andhra, a lot of movies are released during this period. In the evening people go to watch the movies.
There are so many other memories which are related to this festival, like- hari dasu, banthi poolu, chamanthi poolu(flowers), gobbimmalu, muggulu, gummadi kaayalu, and all the sweets which I mentioned earlier. No wonder we call it pedda pandugaa in our Andhra Pradesh. It truly is, though I miss all of this here in U.S, just to think about it makes me so happy.
Wishing each and every one a Very Happy Sankranthi!
On this Special occasion, I would like to share this simple yet divine and delicious sweet with everyone- Sweet Pongal( we call it chekara pongal, chekara means sugar. Though we make it with jaggery we call it chekara pongal, i dont know why). This is the first recipe i will be blogging this year. And i am very happy to start with a sweet like this.
Sweet Pongal Recipe:
• Rice- 1 cup
• Yellow moong dal (pesala pappu)- 1/2 cup
• Jaggery- 1 1/4th cup
• Milk- 4 cups
• Water- 2 cups
• Cardamom – 3 ( grind using a mortar)
• Few Cashews and raisins and
Lightly toast the yellow moong dal, now mix it with rice add the milk and pressure cook.(Make sure the rice and moong dal is just cooked through, but not very mushy).
Now take a big skillet, add two cups of water and jaggery powder. Let the jaggery melt and water come to a boil. Once that’s done, add the cooked rice and dal mixture. Mix it well and cook for about five minutes.
In a different skillet heat 3 tsps of ghee, add cashews and raisins and fry till light golden brown.
Once the pongal comes together add the cardamom powder and the fried cashews and raisins and turn off the stove.
Offer the sweet pongal to the God as naivedyam( offering) and enjoy this simple yet delicious sweet as prasadam with your loved once.
Note: I prefer my pongal with just enough sweetness to it, if you prefer it much sweeter add some more jaggery.