India is known for its diversity, its colours its rich traditions. When you think of India you associate it with energy, vibrancy and above all festivals. A country where so many traditions co-exist, every day is a celebration. This story today is about Pongal and Makar Sankranti – The Kite Flying festival.
A harvest festival, Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiacal sign of Makar (cancer). It also marks the end of the winter solstice, which symbolizes the end of the long winter nights and the celebration at the coming of the long sunny days. It also signifies the happiness of the farmers at getting new crops. But now days the biggest attraction of Makar Sankranti is kite flying. Kids and adults alike from the entire neighbourhood bond together to fly kites. A festival that helps the community come together, enjoy and celebrate.
Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu celebrated on 15th January. Rice plays an important component of Pongal celebrations. One of the most important rituals of Pongal is to let the rice boil until it overflows out of the vessel. This is supposed to signify wealth and prosperity in the coming year. This rice is then eaten by everybody in the family. Two of the most popular varieties of Pongal prepared during the festivities are Venn Pongal which is a savoury rice dish and Chakkara or Shakarai Pongal which is a sweet dish. Chakkarai Pongal is served as prasadam in temples during Pongal festivities. Made with rice, mung beans, coconut and sweetened with jaggery or white sugar, chakkara pongal is a treat you would not want to miss this festive season.